Magazine article Stage Directions

Blowing Chunks, Artistically

Magazine article Stage Directions

Blowing Chunks, Artistically

Article excerpt

The vomit scene in God of Carnage means getting creative about getting disgusting

Over the last 20 years as a Prop Master, I have been asked to work on a lot of effects. But it wasn't until I started working on God of Carnage at the Dallas Theater Center this summer that I was asked to create the illusion of someone vomiting on stage. Not only vomiting - but violently projectile vomiting. I had two mandates: It should look as real as possible, and it had to cover the coffee table on set. These two things were slightly at odds, as our coffee table was a 5-foot circle. I had to create realistic vomit that traveled more than 5 feet.

I started out by researching how other theatres have done this effect. Some companies built the vomit rig into the actress' bra. This has obvious problems: The actress has to act with 2 to 3 pounds of moving liquid strapped to her, and after the effect her costume no longer fits properly. The second method used an off-stage pressurized systern. A tube is run from off-stage and hidden in the sofa. The actress has another tube rigged into her costume which she plugs into the one in the sofa. After reviewing video of other productions using this system it was decided that this did not look realistic enough.

The last method is to hide the rig in a pillow. While acting sick, the actress clutches the pillow to herself for comfort. A bladder is sunk into a foam cushion form inside the pillow, and when the actress needs to vomit, she simply squeezes the pillow/bladder. …

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