The Devil You Say!
Stories about the devil have been with us since the dawn of time, and continue to be part of our culture. The Bible, of course, is our primary source, but he seems to pop up everywhere from Faust to The Twilight Zone. And, while we all know that he is an undeniably evil figure, one fact cannot be denied the devil has great special effects. This has been true for as long as man has presented dramas featuring Satan.
The medieval Christian church used to hold great pageants in and around their cathedrals. One of the most spectacular attractions at these pageants was the "hell-mouth," a set piece that looked like a gigantic grotesque face. The hell-mouth could spew fire and sulfurous smoke, and actors dressed as demons would rush out to taunt and torment the crowd. While the purpose of the hell-mouth was to frighten the congregation into obedience, I'll bet that more than one peasant came back to see the spectacle again.
Modern audiences are just as fascinated with stories about the diabolical. Consider the success of films such as "The Exorcist," and more recently, "Bedazzled." The theatre certainly has its share of this sort of entertainment, perhaps the best known example of which is the musical, "Damn Yankees." Briefly, "Damn Yankees" is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for the chance to help his favorite baseball team win the championship. The devil in this instance is a smooth-talking man called Mr. Applegate. Readers who have seen the show know that Mr. Applegate has some nifty special effects of his own, including what appears to be a cigarette lighter built into his finger.
That effect, of course, is easily achieved with the product featured in this week's special. The Finger Flame allows a performer to create a steadily burning flame that seems to spring from the tip of one finger. Because of its compact design, an actor can perform while wearing the Finger Flame, do the effect, and then ditch the device easily in a pocket. As with any special effect, however, ample rehearsal time is crucial. I recommend purchasing the Finger Flame as soon as possible after you know that you'll be doing this show.
Give the device (unloaded) to the actor playing Mr. Applegate so that he can get used to palming and ditching it while performing. Actually operating the Finger Flame is not nearly as difficult as inconspicuously getting it into and out of one's hand, so you may not need to start loading the device until dress rehearsals. With enough rehearsal, even the most fumble-fingered actor should be able to create a magical effect on stage.
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579