Feather drop/cannon?


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We are a small high school doing Shakespeare in Love, and my director has decided to choreograph one of the sword-fighting scenes so it turns into a pillowfight, with feathers flying. I'd like to avoid the actors having pillows full of feathers blow up in their faces, but I do want to create the effect of feathers blowing in the air onstage as they are going through this scene. I'm thinking of creating a feather drop using a bag and/or drum across the center of the stage, and having crew members do some light feather cannon-ing from the wings. Does anyone have any recommendations on the best type of feathers/other material to use for this?
Filling feathers for pillows are relatively cheap. You might want to check Amazon or Michaels, or even an upholstery supply. While I have never done anything exactly like this I would think there are a couple few things to be cautious about.
1. Make sure no one in your cast is allergic to feathers.
2. Before using on stage I'd figure out a way to blow them out in the shop or somewhere to get all the little scraps/ fluffy down pieces out of the pile those floating around could wind up in somebodies nose of down their throat and start a coughing or sneezing fit.
3. However you blow the feathers onstage you need to make sure you blow them across or not too violently, you don't want them going up into the lights; you do NOT want feathers in your lights! I would not try to drop them from a snow cradle.
4. My immediate thought is to use something like a large fan on low and have someone feed them in from behind this might require modifying the screen a bit so it would require an added amount of caution.
5. Do not re-use them! Use them for one performance then throw them away or put them in compost. A very common mistake, often made by school and places with lower budgets is to sweep up fake snow, or rice (for rain), or flower petals (for flower petals) and reuse them to save money. Unless you develop an extremely rigorous way to clean those items every night, you run the risk of dust, grit or pigeon poor winding up in someone's eye, mouth, nose, or hair (OMG NOT the Hair!).

Ok, that's my $.02 (keyboards used to have a 'Cents' key and I really miss it.)
Cannon will be disappointing. Feathers need quite a "column" of air to keep moving, since they have near zero inertia and high drag. So Fan is your best hope..
ditto on the don't re use.
drop might work but from any height, they won't appear to originate with the pillows/fight.
Be prepared to be sweeping/ picking feathers out of every nook and cranny for the next 5 years. Our scuttle costume from Mermaid still has the stray feather shows up years after the show.

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