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soiree society: the perfect cast | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 2

Now in the mad haste of the process, some alginate managed to sneak its way into the breathing tubes – which were never terribly large to begin with. Subject Juliann – who, rather understandably in my mind, had been feeling a bit peevish about the prospect in the first place – immediately began to sputter. (Note: It was at this time that I made the fateful decision to remain a mere spectator in the events of the night. Breathing -- good. Suffocation -- bad). After clearing away the alginate from her face, and declaring that "no way are those little straws providing enough air", she nonetheless agreed to try again, this time inserting mondo-big paper cones into her nostrils. After checking to make sure that everyone else was still breathing – and indeed they were, albeit on less than their full, two-nostril capacity – Barrett re-applied Juliann’s alginate layer. All alginated faces were then left to cure, the row of white faces looking simultaneously eerie and serene as they lay motionless on the floor. 

Cut to five minutes later: the time had now arrived to add that second plaster layer. This would provide the necessary support to maintain the mold’s shape (alginate, when cured, is a rubbery, floppy substance that doesn’t really hold its form). As with the alginate, the plaster was mixed with water in a large plastic tub to form a lumpy paste. A good thick layer was slopped on each face – and now, there was little for the life-casters to do but lie still, enveloped in plastic and plaster, to think meditative thoughts -- or maybe snooze -- for the half hour (plus) that it would take for the plaster to cure. I haven’t a clue as to what went on in their minds during that time – all Juliann could say afterwards, wryly and with only a hint of trauma remaining in her voice, was that it was "one of those life-altering experiences" – but I do know that the life-casters' immobility left the rest of us with plenty of opportunity to walk around and peer closely, giggling at the absurdity of their states. Let me tell you this: you haven't lived until you've seen your friends shrink-wrapped, frosted in plaster, and with straws shoved up their noses. And voluntarily, no less.

the faces revealed

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