By Daniel Katz


The Student Commons was invaded by bloody zombies, space robots and evil queens on Oct. 20 as part of a theatre workshop for the theatre arts program.

Five professional make-up artists and costume designers took part in the workshop. It was put on as a way to generate interest in cosplay and professional make-up and costume design.

“Our whole class wanted to do it, but only a few of us got selected,” said Krista Leblanc, a theatre arts student who got transformed into a Maleficent-like evil queen by make-up artist and costume designer Vanessa Imeson. “We thought it would be fun.”

Vanessa Imeson and Annie Lefebvre, two make-up artists who work in the professional theatre scene in Ottawa, created characters straight out of a fantasy realm, while Algonquin grad Zach Counsil went with a more blood-and-gore theme. He turned students into a Borg from Star Trek and a bloody zombie from the Walking Dead.

Some students received just quick make-up jobs while others got full costume and prosthetics to completely transform into different characters.

The students who got transformed walked around the Student Commons and took pictures in front of a backdrop placed outside the Commons Theatre.

Husband and wife professional cosplayers Jody Haucke and Thea Nikolic did a demonstration of cosplay on a budget – how to transform yourself into characters in a short time using cheap products anyone can buy in their neighborhood store or pharmacy.

Cosplay is short for costume play, where participants dress up in costumes and make-up to play a specific character. This type of expression is a form of role playing or acting and is common at comic conventions. Usually the characters represented are from comic books, manga or pop culture.

“Cosplay is very freeing,” said Haucke, who has worked on film productions with his wife and has been on panels at comic cons. “You dress up, play and act like a character, and people will really notice if you act the part. You can have a lot of fun even if you only have a $20 costume with $5 of make-up that took you less than half an hour to put together.”

“It’s fun to get into different characters and try being someone different other than yourself,” said theatre arts student Joseph Marchand, who got turned into Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones by Haucke. “I’ve always enjoyed the fantasy world and getting to play it in real life.”

There was a Q & A at the end of the workshop where students and passers-by were able to ask questions of the artists about cosplay, theatre arts and professional make-up and costume design.