Author Topic: SHOWS: The Pillowman  (Read 10711 times)

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debos23

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SHOWS: The Pillowman
« on: Oct 13, 2007, 01:32 pm »
Hi, all!  We just opened The Pillowman at CATCO and I am thoroughly enjoying calling this show every night.  It's one of the most fun plays I've done.   I'm wondering if anyone else out there has done this show and how did you deal with the unique design and SFX elements (blood and violence, etc.)?    Also, what has your audience response been?   Have a lot of walk-outs or are folks loving it?

« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:30 am by PSMKay »

wtcsrstaph4life

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #1 on: Oct 13, 2007, 02:13 pm »
I have not done it, but my school is actually putting it on this semester, and one of my friends is SMing it.

Midnight Blue

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #2 on: Oct 19, 2007, 11:00 pm »
We filmed "Little Jesus" and "The Writer's Brother" in a sort of silent-film style and played them on a rear-projection screen as Katurian narrated live onstage. So we only had four actors working on stage during the run, with our green girl making a brief live appearance at the end. An ASM was given the urgent task of cleaning up the green footprints fom the stage each night post-show before the paint dried.

I anticipated some walkouts due to the subject matter and this being a somewhat conservative area (another local theater's production of "Full Monty" was the target of indecency protests), but we never had any trouble that I noticed. We did note in publicity that mature themes are involved.

We sold out every night for the entire run.


BalletPSM

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #3 on: Oct 20, 2007, 08:31 am »
I saw "Pillowman" at a nearby university last season; it was a fantastic play and a wonderful production -- but also gave me nightmares for a few days!

I like the idea of incorporating film into it!
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

geoffsm

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #4 on: Nov 11, 2007, 11:38 am »
Not to change the subject, but.....
Although I've never seen The Pillowman, my university did The Beauty Queen of Leenane, this semester.  It's written by the same playwright (Martin McDonagh) as The Pillowman.  It is also darkly comedic.  Anyone else experience Beauty Queen.  It's really a killer piece, you should look into it if you haven't seen it.

debos23

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #5 on: Nov 12, 2007, 01:26 am »
I've read Beauty Queen, amazing play, but have not been involved in a production of it (sorry).

I keep hearing about Lieutenant of Inishmore, too.  I wonder how the heck they deal with all the grizzliness onstage in that one.

LizH

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #6 on: Nov 14, 2007, 04:51 am »
I stage managed it last summer and we played to packed houses each night (in Honolulu, so this was a one-of-a-kind show). It was an intimate theatre, seating between 60 and 100 I think. Our actors all had training in traditional Asian theatre forms, so we used masks for the parents and they played most gory scenes in stylized, slow-motion sequences. It was pretty brutal, we had people crying every night. For the gunshot to the head (after the first night, which featured Katurian being pistolwhiped and the props volunteer being transferred to box office) we took vaseline tubes (http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/products/lip-balm.jpg), cut the round tip off, filled them with syrupy fake blood, and stuck 1/3 a cotton ball in the open edge. These were taped inside the bag Katurian put over his head, so when he took it off for the final monologue he could squeeze the blood out and onto his hair.

debos23

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #7 on: Nov 14, 2007, 02:04 pm »
Oh.  Wow.  How very cool.  I would have loved to have seen that production.   We played the stories in a stylized, 2D way.   Used handmade blood packs that Katurian popped when taking off the hood.  Nice dripping-down-the-face action there.  No pistolwhipping, though.   

Wait, why did the props volunteer get transferred to the box office?

LizH

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #8 on: Nov 15, 2007, 04:15 am »
Wait, why did the props volunteer get transferred to the box office?

He decided to remove the blanks before putting the gun in the filling cabinet onstage, just to be safe. He was someone's teenage nephew who needed babysitting.

debos23

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #9 on: Nov 15, 2007, 12:29 pm »
Ha!  My first good laugh of the day....thanks!

Remove blanks for safety.  Nice.

cjmassoud

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #10 on: Nov 28, 2007, 12:31 am »
This is one of my favorite shows, and I would kill to PSM it!
As for McDonaghs other plays, I've never seen Beauty Queen, but I did see Inishmore here in New York when it was Off-Bwy and it was incredible.
Best of luck with your run!  I'm jealous!  :-)
-- CJ

gillyweet

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #11 on: Nov 29, 2007, 11:17 am »
The Singapore Repertory Theatre just did a production of The Pillowman to a sell-out audience, though on one of the nights, there were about 10 walkouts during ACT1 and about 20 by the end of intermission. Usually 5-10 leave before intermission per night. But reviewers loved it.

For some stories which Katurian narrated, like the little green pig, there was no special effects, just plain story telling. Some like the writer's brother and the little jesus was acted out as he narrated. And some like the pillowman, had a graphic novel projector thing going on in the background.

I loved the scene at the end where Katurian dies, because we had a real gun but we used blanks, and that was a rare sight in Singapore, where people are not allowed to own guns, and it was always so unexpected even though i knew it was coming. Perhaps i was taken aback by how loud the gun sounded in the small theatre.

For the blood, we packed hand made blood packs into the hood and when he falls over, the blood spills after he falls to the side. Looks pretty real.


04sdwall

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Re: The Pillowman
« Reply #12 on: Nov 29, 2007, 10:14 pm »
I just saw the Pillowman at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte and it was really good.  The set design was really cool because it was just a very drab interrogation room but the walls were removable (and the seems were so well hidden no one expected it) and it revealed these very cartoony rooms where the writers brother was performed in the SR wall and the then little jesus SL wall with a transparent floor where you could see Jesus buried.  It was a very amazing set and show.

StageManagerV

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SHOWS: THE PILLOWMAN- Some special effects help?
« Reply #13 on: Jul 07, 2008, 04:18 pm »
Hello Ladies and Gents of the 'net,

Victoria from Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater here again, asking for a little bit of help on "The Pillowman".

We've pretty much figured out the "Green Girl" effect and the gunshot-to-the-head moment, it's the fire in the trash bin that is just defeating me.

Here's a primer on how this one goes down, for those not familiar with the play:

One of the characters threatens to burn the other characters' oeuvre of stories by dragging a trash bin to downstage, pouring some lighter fluid into it, and tossing a match in.

He holds the stories above the bin but never throws them in. After about 2 1/2 pages of text and action another character puts the fire out with water from a bottle of water on the table. END OF PLAY.

We've thought about using Sterno in a basket raised up so that it can be somewhat seen, but I dont know if it will be bright enough. The issue that's really stumping me is sustainability- the fire needs to keep going. It can of course piddle out a bit, but it should still be going at the end when it's extinguished as part of the action.

We've thought about flash paper to get that first moment of fire igniting, but I don't think it's the right look.

At this point, I'm considering a small amount of lighter fluid on paper that's sort of crumpled up or twisted so that it takes slightly longer for it to burn.

Anybody have any thoughts on how to do this?

We go into tech in one week. Thanks to everyone for help!!
~Victoria Coady
AEA Stage Manager, Julie Harris Stage
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater
Wellfleet, MA
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 03:08 am by PSMKay »
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women in it merely players."
As You Like It, II.iv.137, Wm. Shakespeare

ScooterSM

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Re: THE PILLOWMAN- Some special effects help?
« Reply #14 on: Jul 07, 2008, 10:46 pm »
Victoria-

Do you have a fire permit, etc for this effect?  Massachusetts has very strict fire and safety codes that relate to any kind of flame onstage (even lighters, candles and cigarettes), so you may want to double check them before deciding real vs fake fire.
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

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