Jun 7, 2005
Hi, pretty sure it'll be the right section to post this in, basically our school have decided to put on the production of Kes and the Director would like something that resembles a bird for the parts of the play that its in (namely most of it)...i quickly ruled out the idea of getting a real bird....much to the casts disgust, and was just wondering if anyone had any other ideas about how to make a robotic i think thats the route were taking, someone said puppets, but thats risky, because frankly actors cant be trusted to know there parts, let alone to move the bird independantly. So were probably going for a robotic bird, its quite adventerous to go for one that actually flies, so we were just going to fly it from the ceiling in the hall.

Many Thanks,



CB Mods
Premium Member
Jul 27, 2006
Portland, Or.
robotic i think thats the route were taking, someone said puppets, but thats risky, because frankly actors cant be trusted to know there parts, let alone to move the bird independantly.

You know the first instances of "Animatronics" were in Ancient Greece. Herron of Alexandria,, constructed a tree full of golden little birds. Their Beaks would open and close as a cacaphony of trilling whistles and chirps emanated from the base of the "sculpture". He also built the very first automated scenery, an entire shows worth. It ran on Grain and sand and pulleys and cogs and knotted ropes, and gravity. What I'm trying to impress upon you is this, if you lived in ancient Greece, and you had lots of time afforded to you by your class as an aristocrat I would say by all means build a robot. Heck I've built robots for displays, they are expensive, tend to be noisy, and they break a lot. On the other hand Actors can be quiet < they can, I've seen it > they are extremely cheap < beleive me I know my first girlfreind ... Never mind. > and if they break, they are really easy to replace.
In the immortal words of somebody, K.I.S.S. < keep it simple and stupid > (see most people think it's <keep it simple, stupid> I prefer it the non aggressive way and honestly it means a lot more because you should keep it simple and stupid , easier to fix that way)

Build a robot in your spare time. I suggest scraping a few cheap-o radio control cars for you first endeavors. or check out the books on this link, It's fun and you'll learn a lot.


Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2004
Yes, I'll second what Van just said. Robots are super cool and incredibly fun to build and work with (I know, I go to a college where more kids attend the robotics competitions then the football games) but they are also a TON of work and are rather hard to do right, especially if this isnt something you are doing all the time. You are probably much better off taking something off the shelf and "hacking" it to do what you want. Something like using a RC car and have it's tires turning back and forth flap the wings and stuff like that. Building something like that from scratch can be very hard, but also is alot easier then taking a pile of motors and chips and building a robot.


Well-Known Member
Sep 3, 2006
again we always fall back on those things we are most familiar with, SOOOO

I think building a robotic bird is a bit beyond what you are going to have time for in this type of production. And if for some reason you caou not get it to work the rest of the group is going to be really upset.

Puppets are a way to go, that is why so many kids tv shows use them, remember you could use a marionette from above the stage area.

It is also important that this is theater so suggestion, or suspension of disbelief are all possibilities, so it is not out of the question to have a person in a mask etc play the bird more as a theatrical performance

Lastly you could look at some sort of video projection system, where you used the image as part of the set


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