Alternatives to a Fly System

NickWhere

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Hello,
Thank you for welcoming me to Control Booth. I'm a young director trying to make a name for myself here in Chicago and so I'm finding new ways to connect with theatre people technical and all!

I'm directing a new musical a friend of mine wrote, and in it, characters have to be abducted, like Alien abductions where the characters would traditionally be pulled up through the sky.

This is a super low budget production and none of us are experienced with rigs, and we don't want rigs, so instead I'm trying to come up with a creative new way to "abduct" someone. I thought about having the actors do artsy body sharing and carry the characters off-stage, I've thought about simply using a flash of light, but I want it to be just a bit more original than that. Do you great people on Control Booth have a thought?

Not to be judgemental at all, but some of the actors are heavy set and some of the actors are very thin and so if the answer is with physical movement, then it should be able to be done by all shapes and sizes. I realize I'm asking for a lot here, but whatever suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.
 

RickR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Location
Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
Glad to have you join in the fun.

If you've looked around the rigging discussion you will have noted the heavy focus on safety. Avoiding lifting your performers is probably the safest method short of readers theater.

But as to solutions: puffs of fog (doesn't hide the feet), ninja stage hands with screen, 'artistic movement' (turn upstage and hop arabesque into the wings, etc), or really basic 'alien comes out and escorts offstage while everyone else freezes'
 

NickWhere

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Glad to have you join in the fun.

If you've looked around the rigging discussion you will have noted the heavy focus on safety. Avoiding lifting your performers is probably the safest method short of readers theater.

But as to solutions: puffs of fog (doesn't hide the feet), ninja stage hands with screen, 'artistic movement' (turn upstage and hop arabesque into the wings, etc), or really basic 'alien comes out and escorts offstage while everyone else freezes'
I have read some rigging discussions on this board, I definitely get the safety and some of those threads got really intense. I wouldn't mind the last idea, but the (spoiler) for the production is that aliens are not actually the cause of the abductions, so unfortunately I can't do that. But thanks for the suggestions!
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
Did a show once with a number or mirrors - like 4 x 8 hollywood flats with stretch mirror on one side and black velour on edges and opposite side - mounted on a pipe flanged to floor and anchored over so the panels rotated. You can do some spooky disappearing (and appearing) between the revolving mirrors and lighting very simply.

Like the saying, it's done with mirrors.

(I wonder if pivot could be horizontal and get that "flying effect"?)

And don't overlook scrim.
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
If you can stage it so all of these happen in one or two locations, you could have a narrow drop or drops (painted to match the set?) in the floor (carefully folded/rolled between two low platforms that have a small gap?) that would be pulled up out of the floor to hide the actor from the bottom up. This would require there to be two high-test monofilament or thin aircraft cable lines to pull the drop up, but it could be a cool effect.
 
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