How are pretend heads made, and why would
an actor need a pretend head? Some of Shakespeare’s plays are very gruesome, and have lots of fight scenes. All of the fighting is pretend, but to make
it look real, we use special props including these pretend heads.
To make a pretend head, the actor’s face is first covered in a sticky blue gunge called Alginate. After this, strips of fabric are layered on top. The alginate and fabric then set hard, and
this is carefully cut off the actors face. If you look closely, you’ll see that the inside
has been moulded by the shape of the actors face. This mould is then filled with Plaster of Paris which hardens into a copy of the actors face. A bit of filing gets rid of any extra plaster. By moulding clay onto the back of the face,
it turns into a model of the actors whole head. This head is then covered in a fresh layer
of Plaster of Paris which hardens into a new mask. Does this look real to you? Rubber is then poured into the mask to produce
a final copy of the actors head. Finally, the rubber head is decorated with
fake hair and even fake blood. Do you think you would be fooled if you saw
this in a play? The pretend heads are now ready for the show.