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Little Shop Branch Drop

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by TupeloTechie, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    We are doing Little Shop of Horrors in a couple of weeks and have still not figured out how to drop the branches on the audience at the end of the play. We don't believe we can use drop boxes because of the way the ceiling is constructed, however the ceiling seems perfect for some type of drop, I just have no clue how to do it.
    I have attached a mspaint drawing of the ceiling.

    Any help is much appreciated, along with any other ideas about anything in Little Shop! Thanks!

    ~Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  2. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    What is the nature of these branches ? Also is there access above the drywall panels via catwalks or would you have to rig by lift to set up the drop?
     
  3. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    From what I could get from the director the branches will most likely be an old green drop that we are going to cut up and stuff.

    There is no catwalk, the only access we have is by ladder.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Are you literally going to be dropping stuff on the audience? I only ask because most audience members don't generally appreciate that sort of thing unless you give them a pretty explicit warning that it is going to happen (or if you are the Blue Man Group). Also, dropping something that people have the potential of getting tangled in could be quite dangerous and possibly against fire codes. Also, I don't remember ever seeing a production of LSoH where they dropped anything on the audience.

    Also, if the only access you have the ceiling is by ladder, it is going to make resetting the drop a real PITA every night. Then of course there is the whole rigging this over the audience which probably falls under the we aren't supposed to talk rigging on CB.

    I am sorry to be so negative, there were just a bunch of things with that idea that don't sit well with me, mostly from a safety perspective.
     
  5. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    Could green baloons represent brances in this case? We did a baloon drop for a gala event once and it was rather cool - one time deal though, I wouldn't want to do it for the run of a show.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Done the show twice and never done that, I think for one show we had some of the tenacle routes from the 4th pod fall into the isles, but didnt drop anything on anyone. Audience participation is great and all, but this could make some people mad unless you do the "splash zone" thing like at sea world. Or your Blue Man or Gallagher (sledge O matic anyone?).
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I would feel a lot better about dropping balloons on the audience, and that is something that audience members would probably take home with them! However, it may get expensive to put new balloons up every show, and you still have the problem of only ladder access for reset. It is doable, just time consuming.
     
  8. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    We plan to drop them about a foot above their heads while sitting, they are not going to be dense, so I highly doubt they will become a fire hazard upon exit (the idea is that the theatre has been taken over by Audrey II, they will have to walk out through them, like in a fun house.)

    I've seen two other productions of LSoH and both dropped the vines/branches on the audience at the end, it even in the Libretto.

    I realize it will be a huge pain, but we all think it will be worth it.

    What we are dropping are essentially just thin pillows, I don't think any "rigging" of types we are not suppose to talk about on here will take place.
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I am going to continue to play devils advocate here. You have a raked house, so if you drop anything to be suspended only a foot or so about the audience then you will obstruct sight lines for the people in the back of the house. I realize it is for the end of the show, but people will want to see curtain call and the like.

    Also, if you are dropping something to be suspended a foot or so above the audience, it this when they are seated or standing? Because if people are standing up into this to walk out of the theatre, that is 1) a fire hazard, and 2) it will probably annoy more people than it entertains. Anything that can impede the flow of people in and/or out of the theatre is not a good thing. Especially in a school setting where the bulk of your audience is probably parents and grandparents. The last thing you need is someone's grandmother getting tied up branches and falling or whatnot.

    The concept is fun and interesting, the thing is you really never want to mess around with the patrons. In this day and age, you barely have to do anything and someone will turn around and slap you with a lawsuit. It is very different when you go to a show like Blue Man and you expect to get covered in goo and toilet paper and who knows what, but most people don't go to the theatre expecting or wanting things dropped on them and then have to navigate out of the auditorium.

    I would suggest things like covering the ceiling with vines, or getting some green rope light and winding around the walls and ceiling (maybe with the vines) then lighting it up at the end of the show. It is less intrusive, but it will bring the audience into the show.
     
  10. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    We did a student directed show one year, a post-apocalyptic adaptation of Oedipus. The set and theatre were made to look like a desolate waste dump. As part of this we fashioned a bunch of painter's drop (high density) together and dirtied it with mixed dark paint and hung it from the ceiling over the lower section of our theatre, cutting the space down to about 450 seats or so. It was probably between 15 and 20 feet up off of the raked audience seating area. The effect was pretty cool for that show, maybe you could do something like this with green fabric/plastic. It probably wouldn't move at the end so you'd lose your desired effect for the ending but it may pull the show out into the house better like icewolf suggested.
     
  11. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Could you not just run some trick line (heavy fishing line) from behind the proscenium, to the back of your house to multiple different locations. Have ushers pull them on cue so that vines attached to the trick line behind the proscenium, engulf the audience. You make sure that with guides or pulleys you can keep the vines close to the walls and celling.

    JH
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The tradition of the vine drop at the end of LSoH goes back to its start in Off Braodway theatre. When I saw it in 1985 the final number takes place the final voice over goes then BAM drop boxes opened up all over the theatre and dropped "Vine Tentacles" all over the audience. These vines are not dropped Onto the audience they are dropped over the audience, to just above standing head height. the other ends of the vines are securly attache to the ceiling, nothing drops onto the audience, just falls into thier sightlines. Now, the Broadway version, or rather off broadway version that I saw they had boxes about 8"x8"x6' , with hinged bottoms they would just stuff the vines into the boxes close the bottom, secure it with a solenoid actuated latch and wait for the end of the show.
    If you've never see a production where they drop the vines, most likely it's because you never seen a production where they had enought time, personel, and technical knowledge to rig the trick.

    If your only access to the ceiling ares is via ladder you are severely limited in your ability to reset. Let me opeen up your picture at work tomorrow, and I'll be happy to give you a couple of suggestions. I've seen the trick rigged in a variety of ways and will pass on what I can.
     
  13. Oobleck1441

    Oobleck1441 Member

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    Hey, I jsut student directed this show at my high school. Not a junior version, the full fledged.

    In the end we had actors with green streamers run up the aisles then by the end of the finale, the returned back to teh stage

    The only reason we couldn't drop or lower anything in is becuase it would have caused a fire hazard with our hosue lights and the other problem we think we would have encountered was if we have a standing applause, wavying hands and hanging items wouldn't work so well.

    Any other questions on this show.. feel free to ask!
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Have to agree with a lot that's been said here. I really like Jon's idea of some sort of trick line pulling vines from the stage up the aisle. In the production we did a few years back we cut it because the space just wasn't physically capable of the trick. I bet most productions don't do the vine drop these days due to the things Alex's been saying. If you could rig it up like the original production then great but odds are you won't be able to.
     
  15. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    My high school just finished taking our production of LSoH to our State Conference and we dropped nothing from the ceiling and we didn't drag anything through the audience. We actually rented the plants and they came with brown cloth looking vines that we simply tossed out of our pit... didn't bug the patrons in the front row, or in any row for that matter, and coupled with the fog that went screaming into the pit, it looked pretty cool.

    We probably would have done something that involved the house a little more, but we really didn't have the time, nor the technical prowess methinks.
     

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