Author Topic: SAFETY: Hanging an actor....  (Read 3403 times)

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maximillionx

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SAFETY: Hanging an actor....
« on: Jun 05, 2016, 11:11 pm »
Not sure if anyone has dealt with this before, but here goes:

We need to hang an actor for a botched suicide gag....It's for 'Harold & Maude,' and the show opens with an actor hanging himself and his mother walking in on it, at which point he cuts the rope and descends.
Has anyone either worked on this show before or attempted anything of this nature? I'd appreciate any advice or assistance, as none of us want to be the subject of a news story where an actor accidentally dies from a botched hanging scene.
Thanks all!

fyi: Venue is non-union and configured for in-the-round seating.

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth
« Last Edit: Jun 07, 2016, 09:29 am by Maribeth »

Mac Calder

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Re: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #1 on: Jun 06, 2016, 05:24 am »
If the actor MUST be visible and hanging himself... engage professionals. zfx, foys or similar.

If you have a director open to something a bit sillier... perhaps you can fake it - like a projected silhouette where the rope is cut and the actor falls out from bellow where the silhouette dropped. It is theatre, suspension of disbelief is part of that.

A stunt master once told me - you never put a rope around someones neck unless you plan to hang them - for realsies.

 

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KMC

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Re: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #2 on: Jun 06, 2016, 11:59 am »
Agree w/ MAC - if you need to do it on stage in view of the audience, engage professionals.

If you don't have the budget for that - get creative.  Can you do a shadow gag with projection or something similar?
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

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loebtmc

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Re: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #3 on: Jun 06, 2016, 01:07 pm »
check the search function - can't recall when but someone asked abt this a long time ago -

PSMKay

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maximillionx

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Re: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #5 on: Jun 06, 2016, 10:31 pm »
Prior discussion: http://smnetwork.org/forum/stage-management-plays-musicals/scenery-onstage-hangings/msg18183/#msg18183

Thank you all for your insight, I greatly appreciate it!

I'll update with further information as we head towards production week to keep the topic relevant.

brettnexx

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Re: SAFETY: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #6 on: Oct 22, 2016, 06:08 pm »
I know this is extremely late, and the show probably already happened, but I wanted to add to the discussion.

In university we did 2 separate shows with hangings. I was involved in them, but not directly with the rigging. But the way it worked was the actors had harnesses that went down their legs and around their feet, they were clipped into a line that went up to the grid, and was rigged safely. The rope followed the line from the grid, and the actual noose part was a tube that had rope wrapped around it to look like the knot and the end of the rope was pressure fit into the tube, so if something happened they would just fall the two foot fall to the floor, and the noose would come undone.

I don't know if there were any professional companies called in to help, but I believe the carp professor was a certified rigger. The actors were weighed by the carp professor before the concept was put into action, and was weighed again as they were setting up (a few weeks later) in their full costumes.

Obviously, no matter what you need someone certified to come in and help you guys. But there are ways to do it.

maximillionx

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Re: SAFETY: Hanging an actor....
« Reply #7 on: Oct 22, 2016, 06:32 pm »
Thanks for the update brettnexx, completely forgot about this posting!

We ended up using a dummy and treating the effect more like a practical joke Harold was playing on his mother.

Tags: Props set safety 
 

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