i hope i'm not alone with this one

tomwed

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
I taught shop and built the sets for the high school plays. If you teach shop then you know how hard it can be to keep the kids learning, busy and spend nothing. My shop was big and I thought I could use my students to build the set for the upcoming show. It was perfect, pure double-dipping with happy, busy students and the show picking up the tab on materials.

After we built the set, we couldn’t get it out the door; too big.
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
I have heard of the happening, but usually its the other way. Build the set, and come to realize that the loading door for the space is a 72" double door.
 

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
Only similar incident I can remember is the brand new rehearsal room they built for my grade school district when I was there. Nice new room, practice rooms, and a dedicated percussion storage room. Except that the tympani and marimbas were too wide for the door. So we had to bury the percussion with music stands during the day, when they used the room for something else.

Ever since then I've learned that no matter how well packed a show is, if it doesn't fit on the truck it's not a well designed show.
 

kovacika

Active Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
At my college we can not have a set piece larger than 4'x10'. The door for loading in is very narrow, and then all the set pieces have to go up a tall, narrow stairway. There is an elevator, but you cant fit anything larger than 4'x7'
 

Peter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Location
MA, USA
When my High School was renovated they installed the wrong doors going onto the stage so they were way to small. After a good deal of yelling and pestering the right people, they came back in and knocked out some bricks and put in the proper, much larger doors!
 

jwl868

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Been there:

For years, the dance studio was one long space, with one end for active classes and the other end for other activities, like assembling sets and large props for shows, including a wheeled sleigh and rolling box. One summer, a dividing wall with a sliding glass door was installed to divide the space into two studios. Never thought about it as we assembled the sleigh and the box that winter and then tried to move them through the sliding door to the other room where the main exit door is. The sliding door width is about 33”, the sleigh was 34” and the box about 40”. (Luckily, the guy who put in the door foresaw this and anchored the sliding door's lintel with 4 screws, so removing the door was pretty easy and saved me from disassembling and reassembling the items.)

Joe
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Used to work at a theatre where the access to stage was through a freight elevator. Oh yeah, it had a standard size elevator door. We had a chart in the shop,it told us what all the maximum sizes of scenery were before we had to break them down to fit through the door. if a piece couldn't be broken down we'd have to go 2 city blocks west up an escalator < that was always turned off on the weekends when we loaded in> back east the same 2 blocks then through the lobby. Wait that's not all. If we did go the "long way" the piece could be however long it wanted to be, but, because of the set up of the vestibule doors going into the theatre, it could only be about 24" thick in one dimension. Luckily I had a genius for a TD at the time and he saved us a ton of cussing by doing the math ahead of time.
 

Flyboy

Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Location
Chicago, IL
Every year we do a show in the "Nice Hall" which doesn't have a scene shop, so we build the set in our main building (which only has standard sized doors) and truck it four blocks to the other venue (which has huge bay doors). Two years ago we did The Mikado and built a giant sail for the Mikado's ship. We thought ahead and designed it to fold so that it would fit out the door...but we forgot about the size of the truck. Four of us carried it and walked it to the venue.
 

Schniapereli

Active Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Location
Provo, Utah, United States
Our scene shop is right smack back stage (on Stage Left, to the back). You have to walk through it to go to changing rooms. We also have a big garage door, so they store some of the set outside. (when not in use)

But, for a band concert at my junior high, they had a hard time fitting the vibraphone in, and they had to try a few doors, and pull it through a messy janitor's hall.
 

CHScrew

Active Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Location
north of Pittsburgh, PA
We did somthing like this. We built a HUGE tree for "Children of Eden." When we put it onstage, We realised that it was so big you couldn't see the branches and leaves from anywhere behind 5th row in the house. Oh well, Nothing a saw's-all can't fix.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
One my other favorites, Working for a scenic company, years ago, building the opera Fauste. We built a series of walls that when assembled were 24' high. the project foreman insisted we put them together and stnad them up. On a Saturday ! In the Middle of Summer ! so we bring in 20 guys, spend the morning assembling, pinning, cabling, so right after lunch he wants to stand it up. We start lifting and pulling and pushing 16 guys lifting, 4 guys footting. Suddenly we stop. Looking up we have hit a Purlion in the ceiling. The old man says " Ok we're just gonna slide the wall 2 feet that way! " pointing in the direction of the guys on the backside of the flat. 2 more guys from the front, who were footing the thing run around back and everyone starts to pull. 'Course the wall was at something like a 70 degree angle, it's 110 degrees in the shop and we have been holding the flat up in the air for 15- 20 minutes now. We finnally clear the purlion. everyone cheers < more like grunts > and we start to push the unit further up. Wham ! wedges into the roof. the roof was only 23'-4" tall. Gordon want's his wall up. After finally realizing it's just not going to happen we lower it back down. As we all break for the day, I'm walking by the old guy and I hear him mutter to himself, " if only we had two more guys..... just two more."
I don't know what those two guys would have done, but he was sure we could've stood it up then.
 

curtg

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Location
Western Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley
I always seem to get one item wrong. During the last show I forgot to measure the length of the freight elevator. It is 19.5' (we build in an old factory). My 24' Styrofoam beams had to be taken apart.
I actually enjoy building sets that have to be packed in trailers and assembled onsite. It forces issues earlier in the process. My load-ins take half the time of other carpenters and casts and crews appreciate this.
A Master Carpenter's most important tools are pencil and paper.
 

leistico

Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
KS
All these sound familiar in one aspect or another. My own tale:

Last spring, I built the set for a community theatre production of "Stalag 17". Our theatre is an old community center, i.e. big open hall with horrendous acoustics, a 13' deep stage (with lots of configurable thrust space) with no wingspace or backstage to speak of (upstage is the back wall of the building), so all the building takes place either in the house--a big open area where we can seat up to 250 on a flat VCT floor in stacking chairs--or in an enclosed patio, with doors into the side of the house 30" by 6'8 high. I fabricated bunks, z-frame doors, table, chairs, everything but flats out of scavenged, cleaned, well-inspected shipping pallets, for that "God, but that's depressing" look. The bunks were my "pride pieces", looking very like the researched pieces from WWII. I figured 30 inches of width by 72 inches long would be good sizes for people to lay on, and the double bunks were 54 inches tall, with triple bunks 78 inches tall.

They were built on the patio.

Can ya see the problems?

After removing the doors from the hinges, banging a bit on the metal frames, shaving bits with the circ. saw and careful navigation with the realization we couldn't lift the triples up more than one inch to make it through, we got the bunks inside.

Since then, I build indoors, and just take extra care and time to clean up. If I make a mess or break something, I'm the one who has to fix it, because as "facility engineer", I maintain the stage lights, the sound systems, the stage risers, the inventory, the plumbing, the HVAC, the electrical, the structure, the parking lot, the paint on the outside of the building, etc...