Producing the play The God of Carnage means dealing with the special effect of one actress becoming ill... aaaallll over the set and costumes. Which means inventing and making fake sick which both looks realistic yet won't cause the entire audience to turn green. And then cleaning that up. Twice on Saturdays. Lots of laundry and clean-up!
I know one local theater (cough-cough) that didn't quite get the clean-up right for the first few performances leading to a Plague of Gnats! in the theater. The solution required both professional pest control and then steam cleaning every night.
All this is mainly a technical problem for props and stage management - plus an acting challenge - but this special effect also effects the set (carpet? No thanks!) and the costumes (dry cleaning? Please no!). Disguising the mechanism for spewing the ick requires collaboration between sets and props and possibly costumes in its camouflage.
So we had a loooong discussion. Recipes for fake-sick were handed around. Really. Kinda the New Year's rebuttal to all those Christmas cookie recipe swaps, huh?
Actually, we laughed quite a lot.
That's us... when we're NOT laughing. A ridiculously solemn moment...
as I suck on my pen thoughtfully, apparently. Sigh. Photo courtesy of Circle Theatre
Could be worse: I once worked on a production of Blasted. (That play, as far as I'm concerned is a sorta dare-ya for how-much-theatrical-ick-can-you-take?) That production meeting involved a lot of technical discussion about dead babies. (Fake ones obviously!) Not ONE joke was cracked.
If you read my how-to set design book Alice Through the Proscenium there's a funny version of me watching the designer run for Blasted while peeking through my fingers.