A Pit of Dirt

BFPele18

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2007
I just had a meeting with a director for an upcoming show and he wants a pit of dirt on the stage. Real dirt. Then he wants it to rain. Real water plus real dirt equal Mud. I am not looking forward to that clean up.

However my concern comes from the dirt. I want to make sure that the dirt won't make actors or audience members sick. I once worked on a show with dirt and 3 actors and a technician got respitory complications.

Any suggestion on what kind of dirt I should look for?
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Don't use dirt, used cut up tires. Its the same stuff they make running track out of, and it looks extremly close to dirt onstage if you get a few different colors and blend it. Unless you really want the mud thing, if so... stay with the dirt... How you will revert from the mud state to the dirt state overnight I really do not want to know.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Definitely like the idea of something other than real dirt. Although for the back of your mind you can get makeup grade dirt from Ben Nye (I think) which is very safe to use... it's too expensive to make a dirt pit out of but great for making sets, clothes, props, or people dirty.
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Definitely like the idea of something other than real dirt. Although for the back of your mind you can get makeup grade dirt from Ben Nye (I think) which is very safe to use... it's too expensive to make a dirt pit out of but great for making sets, clothes, props, or people dirty.
That would be a lot of little bottles.... I think that would use all the ben nye product for the year. Would be a fun phone call to make however.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
That would be a lot of little bottles.... I think that would use all the ben nye product for the year. Would be a fun phone call to make however.
I think it comes in gallon size jugs, but they will cost you... "Sorry, I didn't have any money left for the set or royalties, but I've got a lot of really nice dirt!"
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Ground up Oreo cookies and chocolate pudding.
Dude you'd have people lined up to try to eat the set.


Which reminds me I did Flowers for Algernon and one of the scenes takes place in a donut shop. I had this really nice glass display case for the donuts to be in, but I didn't want to have to buy donuts over and over for the week long run. So I got four dozen donuts and a can of shellac. I gather the entire crew together and made them watch me spray two boxes. I gathered the entire cast together and made them watch me spray the other two boxes. When the show was done, there was one bite missing from one donut.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
I think it comes in gallon size jugs, but they will cost you... "Sorry, I didn't have any money left for the set or royalties, but I've got a lot of really nice dirt!"
Years ago, when doing "The Trails of Tears." We used to get Ben Nyes Texas Dirt in 55 gallon drums, as most of the cast was caucasion.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Ouch I bet that was expensive Van.
Not as expensive as it was gross. They had to put Lysol in it to keep it from molding in the Oklahoma summer heat and humidity.
 

punktech

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Location
Near NYC
my two words of sympathay/empathy: The Tempest--the director for it wants us to cover (yes, COVER) the entire stage in at least 6 inches of sand...i DO NOT want to be the one to clean that up...
 
Last edited:

jwl868

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
6 inches of sand! Assuming that you have a typical stage (30 feet wide and 20 feet deep) - that's about 10 tons of sand.

Hope you can get a Bobcat onstage....


Joe
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
I read an old article about a portable sand dune set. If I remember right they carved foam to shape the dunes and be support underneath, then covered it with fiberglass and painted the fiberglass with sand mixed in the paint. It's probably a little more expensive than the real thing but hey it's much easier to clean up. I can try to find the article if you are interested.
 

Traitor800

Active Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Location
Lititz, PA
The theater that I worked at last summer did a show with the entire stage covered in sand 2 summers ago, what they did was build a giant sandbox and line the bottom with a sand colored carpet,and then throw a couple of inches of sand on top, ive seen seen some pictures and it worked.
 

punktech

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Location
Near NYC
we have a big arsed stage. it's larger than average. also everyon kindly go see me rantings that i shall be posting in a few minutes, i just find my new story comical...Tempest keeps getting even more fun XD