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How do you whip somebody on stage and make them bleed?


kwonzo38

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Assuming you're for real (and it's a bit hard to tell...) you could make up stage blood and cover the whip in it, when it makes contact with the person's back it would transfer the blood to their back.

 

You do realise that you do not actually need to make the person bleed, right?

 

Perhaps some more information about yourself and your situation would be useful.

 

David

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I am doing an easter play so the whips arent regular whips. Yes this is serious. We actually wont have him on a post being whipped, but while a guard is guiding him to the roman emperor, they might throw in some whips.
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Red chalk on the lashes of the whip. I've been involved with a few productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, and it's almost always been done that way and works well. Or, as David suggested, load the lashes of the whips with stage blood - messier than chalk though!
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The chalk sounds a good idea--I've tried it with stage blood before and it took some playing with amounts so it left a mark but didn't splatter off the "whip" each time it was flicked.

 

Hmmm...when we did this, we also covered the actor's back with baby oil to simulate tension sweat--it occurs that the combination of the chalk and baby oil could work well together.

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If the victim had their back to the audience whilst being whipped, they could be wearing a pre-stained shirt (possibly covered up by another garment as they came on stage). After the whipping is finished they could turn around and let the audience see the result. No pain and no mess involved and it would let the audience see the victims face during the process.
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Does the whipping sequence have to be onstage? You could apply some really gory effects on the victim, do the whipping offstage on something "meaty" sounding.

 

Victim utters the obligatory groans and grunts. Centurion ditto. Victim appears onstage complete with lavishly whipped effect.

 

Audience secretly pleased they did not have to witness actual brutality scene. (That sort of thing does not really appeal, think "Romans in Britain".

 

Allows your slap ladies free rein on the baby oil, gore FX. Job done.

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We did this for our production of JCS a few weeks ago. We did it symbolically, with the chorus slapping Jesus on the back as opposed to whipping him. There was a bowl of stage blood in the wings, and just before each chorus member ran on stage and slapped Jesus, they dipped their hands in the blood. Took a bit of practice to get the right amount (so it looked dramatic, but not as if someone had skinned Jesus alive) but it was very effective!
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I would reiterate that you need to think about whether the play will benefit from being literal. It seems to me that you don't want anything too artsy fartsy and symbolic (like "whipping" with lengths of red ribbon) but you do need to think about exactly what the audience need to see. I would beware of using chalk because it'll be hard to get a realistic colour that doesn't look too bright - unless you mix brown and red, I suppose.

 

Also, you say the whips aren't "regular" whips - I presume this means they won't hurt the actor. To be honest, I'd go with pre-applying whipped makeup (blood etc) backstage. Then you could have a few more lashes to "finish the whipping off" while he's being led to the emperor, but the makeup will already be in place so you don't need to worry about blood flying everywhere. If it were to go wrong, you see, it might actually look quite funny... And laughter at a dramatic moment is a surefire play-killer.

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Well that clip certainly was dramatic and very symbolic...but perhaps a tad too brutal for those youngsters who might be in your audience.

 

At least with a cinema audience, say, there can be legally imposed age restrictions...very rarely see that in theatre.

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What CharlieH is talking about is how its done in the 2000 RUG dvd production

 

That is exactly how we did it. We had a matinee for the local primary schools, and as far as I know received no complaints.....

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I assume you're doing this for Jesus Christ. Last year when I did it, we had someone slapping some black rope downstage as they counted the whips with Jesus upstage and chorus members ran on with blood on their fingers and wiped them across him dramatically. Looked really good actually.
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