explosion effect


hello everyone,

I'm new to this website (as well as to technical theater...I was always an actor.) Recently I have began to appreciate the difficulty and challenge of the tech theater world. My theater group is doing a production of Ragtime in the Fall and I have been racking my brain on a decent way to do the Houdini exploding box trick on a small budget and in a "historic" theater. The space is full of character, but also of limitations. If you are more creative than I, I would love to hear some ideas. If you are not familiar with ragtime, Houdini gets into a box that is then lifted up above the stage, it explodes and he enters form the back of the theater. I am most concerned about a safe way to do the explosion effect. THANKS FOR THE HELP!

well, i'm assuming you have a fly system to lift the box. I would assume that you would want to have a door in the back of the box as well as the front, so that the person can sneak out. Make sure that this back door is hidden from the audience and also that there is scenery or something else so that the audience doesn't see the move. For the box, instead of making it explode, why not make it fall apart. With wood you should be able to construct a box that when something happens to it the front detaches from the back. and you have a broken box to show to the audience. then you can fly the box out and have hudini burst in from the side of the stage.
You may be able to rent such a collapsing box from a local costume or scenic shop, I am thinking along the lines of the box in the opening of part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the one on the train. Then you could rig a piece of pyro on the line above the box. Make sure everything in the space is properly flameproofed and that you have the proper certifications to use pyro. You can find equipment for this at www.bmisuply.com.
Hello I am starting this year in tech class but also have a background of being a magician. the way I would do this is have a boxwith pannels that are hinged to a base te pannels would be slightly off centered so that they will fall. on each of the pannels on the back ey would have an eye let and run a lenght of wire throughit kind of like a rip cord. when you pull the cord the pannels will fall. Add a flash pot in the center and there you have it an explodeing rusable box.

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