Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
The Pillowman is a show that required several special effects from the costume and makeup designer; the biggest of which is Tupolski shooting Katurian in the back of the head at the climax of the show. The rest of the challenges aren't quite as problematic: the little green deaf girl and the little Jesus girl story all had FX elements in them. When we began this journey with director Lizzie Talbot and scenic designer Chris Cole, I was the only person on the production team who hadn't done this show before.
The first priority was the headshot. From the beginning the director, Lizzie Talbot, wanted a low-tech approach to the effects in the show. The audience had to see the gun, hear it fire, and then see the splatter on the back wall. Lizzie was not concerned with any makeup FX to Katurian's face after he pulls the hood off, which was great since we were in the black box theatre and the small space left us no distance to pull any major trickery with his face. The solution I came up with, after rejecting a blood capsule as not giving nearly enough splatter, was to use a baby snot sucker for the blood delivery device.
We made a generic black hood. It was bucket shaped with an oval for the top and rectangle all around with a seam up the back. We then grommetted a hole in the front where the actor's mouth would be. We pre-filled the snot sucker with stage blood and shoved the tip through the grommet from the inside of the hood. When Tupolski graps it out of the filing cabinet, the actor was careful to handle it in such a way that the snot sucker was upright while it lay on his desk. Then when Katurian puts it on, he takes the snot sucker in his mouth. At the appropriate time, the actor bites down on the snot sucker ejecting the blood spatter on the back wall. We painted both the grommet and the tip of the snot sucker black so as to be camouflaged by the hood. When Katurian takes the hood off to do the rest of his speech, he just palms the snot sucker inside the hood to conceal it. UDATE: The hood and snot sucker have been found! Here are photos!
The Little Jesus Girl Story
Again, the director didn't want any real blood for this story, reserving the real blood for the headshot at the end. In the script, the Little Jesus Girl is supposed to wear a beard that gets yanked off of her, wear a crown of thorns made from barbed wire that gets shoved on her, is supposed to bleed from those wounds, gets flogged with a cat o' nine tails, and then gets stabbed with a spear and bleeds from that wound.
Our solution was very low-tech. The beard was the cheap kind made for Halloween that was on elastic to begin with. We just cut the elastic and sewed Velcro to both ends so that it could be more easily ripped off her face. We made the crown of barbed wire from wreath raffia and spray painted it silver. Then we used red ribbon for the "bleeding" effect. When the Mom puts the crown on her she is palming the curled up ribbon and when she lets go, it uncoils and falls down like magic. The cat o' nine tails had 9 red ribbon lashes and after the spear thrust, two other actors who were palming more of a thicker red ribbon, hurled it outwards from behind the actress.
The Green Girl
For the little deaf girl bit, she needed to look like Michal had drenched her in green paint and track it across Tupolski's floor. I started out by buying a very pink dress from Goodwill. Then I put a fair few dry cleaning bags over a mannequin, took the whole thing outside and spray painted the dress on the mannequin. I started from the top and made the paint concentration sparser toward the hem. For her body I used several different items to get the complete drenched in paint look. I bought liquid green body paint from Wally's for her arms and legs, green cream base makeup for her face, green temporary hair spray from Spirit for her hair, and green tempera paint from Hobby Lobby for the bottoms of her feet to track green paint into Tupolski's office as it mentions in the script.
Getting the actress green enough proved to be a bit of a problem. We ended up using almost all of the green paint/makeup/hairspray that we bought and as you can see I bought multiples of each. For the footprints, we poured the tempera into a plastic dish and then the actress stepped into the dish right before she walked through the door. The stage crew cleaned it up each night with a wet rag and didn't seem to have any problems getting the tempera paint off the black floor. The actress however, had a bigger problem showering off all the various greens every night. Her flip flops were ruined. Fortunately, her costume for the rest of her roles, ensemble, and Little Jesus girl, had long plants and sleeves so you couldn't tell that she was still fairly green underneath.