help with proscenium arch

csilvia9

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
RI
hi, Im working on a production of Aladdin for my school. I would like to have a black cut out (a silhouette) of the sultans palace as a proscenium arch. Sort of if your looking out of the palace windows. I will have a lighted backdrop behind this. Of course my budget is low but Im not sure what to make this out of. I was thinking some kind of frame with fabric stretched over it. Since this will have a lot of curves to it I was not sure what a good frame material would be. it also needs to span 20'. If anyone can point me in the right direction of some affordable way to do this I would much appreciate it.

Thank you
Csilvia9
 

MarshallPope

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Location
Auburn, New York
Assuming that you have sufficient rigging positions above, you may be able to get by with just a cut drop - just muslin cut to the shape with a coat of paint for stiffness. A more rigid solution would be to use normal rectangular Broadway flats for the larger plain sections with luan or insulation foamboard contour pieces framing those.
 
  • Like
Reactions: csilvia9

csilvia9

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
RI
Irregular openings use netting - should be able to support any muslin cut out shapes. You could even track it.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am thinking I will go with the muslin. I found some cheap black muslin on Amazon. That being settled I want to do a couple of things. The shape I am going for are the typical Arabian style arches with maybe two or three columns. So the cut outs for the Arabian style arches will be curved and sort of taper back in a bit. I was thinking of painting the edges with something like a glue to stiffen the, and hopefully hold the shape. I would also like to have just the columns able to be raised up out of the way. I was thinking of making them like roman blinds. Does any of this sound like it will work lol?
Thanks again
csilvia9
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Location
Denver, CO
If you can post a sketch of the shape you want we can help you better. Words don't do it justice.

As far as a muslin cut drop, a typical method is to use unbleached natural muslin, medium or heavywieght. Available at theatrical suppliers or Rosebrand in wide widths for less seaming. Stitch the drop, then staple it down to a floor (stage floor, or shop floor if you can) with kraft paper under it. It will shrink a lot so staple it well. Then, size it with 1:1 paint to water. Really work it into the fabric. Let it dry and shrink. Then I'd give it a good coat of black paint. It will now be stiff enough to be able to cut out and not fray, etc.

You should add flame retardant additive to your base coat of paint, and spray the back with a proper flame retardant when complete.

If your shapes are complicated, you will need to apply scenery netting (expensive). In some cases you may glue thin strips of lauan on the back to stiffen parts that stick out.
 

MarshallPope

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2009
Location
Auburn, New York
Ditto on what Kicknargel said.

As for your roman blind idea, I've done similar with a tab drop with great success. What I did was use bits of PVC pipe almost the width of the piece with an eye bolt near each end. These pipes were stapled (I think? Maybe I sewed or wired them?) to the pipe every 2 feet or so vertically. I tied paracord to the bottom pipe and ran it up through the eyebolts to pulleys. It worked very well.