Becoming Sarah: Part Seven

The Scars of War

Aside from the rehearsal process, learning the lines, developing the character and the emotional impact this role has had, there is one technical aspect of Sarah that has been both fun and tedious. In the play, the character of Sarah has been injured in a roadside bomb. As a result, during the show I have to brace my wrist and leg, wear a sling and walk with the aid of a crutch throughout the first act. In addition, there is some significant scarring and bruising make-up that I have to apply every night.

Our costume and make-up designer, Joe Russo, did some research, as did I. The first step was to look at how Laura Linney did her shrapnel scars in the Broadway production.

Taking the lead from the make-up designer for Laura Linney, Joe procured some “out-of-the-box” temporary tattoos from Tinsley Transfers, who designed the custom tattoos that were used in the Broadway production. After a little trial and error, we were able to come up with something that worked for our production, focusing on how we could make the scars visible in our space and also allowing for healing throughout the course of the play.

After we had the basic idea of what we were going to do, I did a little extra research on shrapnel wounds and felt that the make-up would look a little more realistic with some fresher scratches and bruising. The end result is pretty realistic.

The entire process of doing my hair and make-up takes me about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on how blank the canvas is when I begin. As you can see in the time lapse video below, I am able to shower and still retain some of the tattoos on my shoulder from the night before. The end result is a pretty realistic and convincing look for someone that has been injured in a bombing.

The second act takes place several months later, after some healing has taken place. During intermission, I remove the bruising and fresh scratches with rubbing alcohol. I then use a concealer crayon to lighten the shrapnel scars without covering them up completely.

In Time Stands Still, I truly have put virtually all of my theatre training and experience into the role of Sarah and am very proud of what I bring to life on stage each night. While the end of this run will be bittersweet, it will also bring a great sense of accomplishment, which I will remember forever.