so, since i had the joy of working with a bunch of stage blood and costumes this past month both at my full time job at the new school for drama and a show i designed with milk can, i felt it only appropriate to discuss it. oh blood and mess you scare me no longer….
My fellow colleague and i discussed the best blood mixtures and did a series of tests on the type of fabric in white to see which would work the best. the mixture that our genius props master came up with was:
paramount theatrical blood
palmolive dish soap (tide works well too, but our stage manager is allergic to tide so we used this instead)
vodka (to help thin it out)
instant coffee/water ( to change the tone and make it a better blood color)
smidge cornstarch (slurry if desired for non-opaque)
this gave a really realistic consistency and thickness. Thank you to our props master Rachel baron! She truly rules. she also discovered that glad press and seal makes for awesome custom made concealable blood packets.
now this mix does not work for everyone, and there are packets your can also buy. this just worked for these productions. it seems it continued to be a theme for younger directors to wants to have Gorey blood in productions. i don’t know if its the influence of our dependency on film or what but its def a trend…. we (prop, designer and i costume director) did come across a play that required the eating of nails and blood then death in a wedding dress, since we went with a rental wedding dress i was not comfortable in the possibility of ruining someone else’s property, so we suggested going the kabuki route and using red china silk and making the death more theatrical and beautiful. We accomplished this by sewing the red silk to the inside lining of the very large skirt of the dress and having the actress reach back and pull it over her head when sitting on the floor and collapsing. when the actress actually grabbed the right layer (I’m telling you this dress as most wedding dresses do had like 15 layers of crinoline) if was so effective! we only had once or twice during performance that the wrong layer was unfortunately pulled and you didnt’ get the nice pop of color. but you learn and live right?