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Beckett's collapsing tree

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by jonh, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. jonh

    jonh Member

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    Has anybody out there ever built the collapsing tree from Beckett's Act without words? I am trying to find an easy, low tech way of building a tree that is able to move onto the stage on wheels, and then lower and raise its branches. I am working in a completely open plan theatre with no flies or curtains although I will have some flats to hide a few things. Any suggestions how I could do this? All ideas welcome, I am running out of them. Cheers, Jon.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  3. jonh

    jonh Member

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    Has potential although I might have to make the elastic bit myself, tent poles are not so easy to come by here. Thanks. Jon.
     
  4. jamesarnold140

    jamesarnold140 Member

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    I built something similar last year for a small "dying" birch tree. Iended up making it from a discarded office fake plant with the plastic leaves. For some reason the wood parts were very light and strong for their size. I was able to slice varied size sections 2" to 4" apart at different angles and had room to recess the bottom sides to fit small hinges. When I had my shape I carefully drilled adjoining sections using a long (1 foot) drill. I then passed 1/4 airline cable through it and built a cheap hinged handle at the base from a junk bike handle. A screw tensioner on the cable allowed me to adjust the cable tension and velcro garage tool hanger strap held it up. I was able with practice both to slowly let it droop and also it had the strength to bring it back up. Ours was also wrapped in an old string of Xmas lites and then stretch nylon to make the bark look like birch and mask the light string. It was quite a bit of work for that few minutes on stage,but it did acheive the wanted effect and was really cheap. make sure you pull the fake wire leaves out before drilling though.that wire is really hard on the bits.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    James, That is a Great Idea ! Good Post!
    Just like one of those goofy little toys where you push in the bottom plate and the figure on the block collapses.
     
  6. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    We've used bicycle inner tubes with the valves removed to get this sort of effect. They can be cut and spliced into various shapes and it's easy to come by fittings for them.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What are these things called? I couldn't find them on the Interweb at all.:(
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I don't know that's why I called them;
    " Those Goofy little toys where you push in the bottom plate ....."

    :twisted:
     
  9. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    not sure what your budget is, but I think some hydraulic cylinders within the tree might look pretty cool.

    They'd give you cool effects, depending on your level of experience with programming automations and such.
     
  10. scenerymaker

    scenerymaker Member

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    I have been looking for an excuse to use a Genie Super Hoist. See: Genie Super Hoist | Genie-Lift.com That would make a way-cool tree trunk!
     
  11. jonh

    jonh Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas, I can only dream about the hydraulic jacks and pneumatic bits for the moment (budget? what budget?) but I will definitely look into some of the lower tech ideas. At the moment I may use a combination of lighting - for the leaves, and a pulley and rope system for the branch, although I am interested in the bungy cord tent pole idea. Hopefully if I keep it simple it will work.... Jon.
     

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