Pool of water

mozsey

Member
Our school is planning on doing Metamorphoses in the spring. I read the script and asked if we're going to have an actual pool on stage. Our tech director says that the district may not like that, seeing as we have a brand new PAC. I'm still going to try to push him to at least ask, because the worst thing they could say is no.

My question is, though, what is a great alternative? What's a good way to have a pool with no water without losing the meaning of a show?
 

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Senior Team
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Not do the show. Mary Zimmerman wrote the show with the pool in mind. It plays a central role in the show as a whole. No pool, no show.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
 

chausman

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MNicolai

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The only way to know is to ask them. We got the clear to use a pool for Meta a solid four months in advance (though you should really know that it's possible at the time you apply for the rights for the show).

You can use a pre-fab pool or build your own. I designed/constructed my own, and then brought in a roofing contractor to line the pool with EPDM rubbing roofing material.

Scenic/Lighting budget for us was $2800. We lucked out that a local pool company lent us the filtration system and shock/chlorine for free. We also lucked out that the roofing contractor donated their time and materials to the production. We would've been closer to $4k had we need to supply those materials on our own, which would've meant cutting $600 worth of lighting purchases and however much we spent on the special muslin we used on our upstage flats.

Along the way, we needed multiple check-ins with facility admin and the fire dept. The fire dept was concerned with electrical safety -- we had lights inches away from the pool that were on GFI's, and we had a lot of lighting in the air not more than 12' above the surface of the water, which normally is very illegal but our fire department allowed it in our case.

When we started planning the show, the two big questions for us were to use water or to use ground fog. Either way probably would've cost the same for us. Having done the show now, I can say confidently if you can't do without water, don't. Water is very necessary to develop the atmosphere of the play and to use ground fog would significantly alter the play.

You're welcome to take a look at how we did it and how it turned out for us.
 
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domiii

Member
A local High School in my area did the show. I didn"t get to see it but I saw a video teaser for it.

The pool was beautiful. The didn't have any leaks but, and this is a big but, they didn't take in to account that when the cast left the pool there would be water splashed on the stage. After the run, there was thousands of dollars of damage to the stage floor. Caused a big stir as to who would pay for the damage, general school funds or out of the theater budget.

The moral to this story is, dont just worry about the pool leaking but the that will be splashed all over the place.
 

Van

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I believe you will find a couple blog posts on here from when we did the show. It is the show that I refer to as " That which shall not be named". It was, singularly, the biggest failure of my career. Not from lack of planning but from execution, timing, and budget restraints. Long story short, you can't do the show if you don't have a pool. it's in the Rights that accompanay the show. We got special dispensation, however and performed the show in a pit whis was covered in silk stretched across it. It was beautiful and many who saw it remarked that it was the first time they had understood the show, that when they had seen it in Chicago, or in New York that the water reflected so much sound it made the actors hard to hear. We did have water. under the silks we had hidden tubs in which the actors could dunk themselves for key scenes.

Big thing to remember, 1 gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. " All the world 'round a Pint is a pound" < that's why certain beer glasses are called 'Pounders' > Anyway, a little water get really heavey really quickly. there is nothing that says you can't incrporate a kiddy pool into the design of your set, just make sure your stage structure will handle the load.
 
I did a show once where a TON of soft BLUE FEATHERS were used to fill a small pool...it was a VERY successful effect!

Jim of Theatrepalooza
 
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ruinexplorer

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Hi Jim, I noticed this is your first post, welcome to the booth. When you have the chance, drop by the new member forum and introduce yourself.

What production did you use the feathers for?
 
It was a production of SCAPINO which took place on the waterfront of an Italian Village. Platforms were used for the docks, creating a great "pool" area which we filled with the blue feathers to represent the lapping water around the docks. It was really fun.
 

ruinexplorer

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I enjoyed that production. That was the first build where we finished quite early, which gave us time to add fun to the set.
 

chausman

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It was a production of SCAPINO which took place on the waterfront of an Italian Village. Platforms were used for the docks, creating a great "pool" area which we filled with the blue feathers to represent the lapping water around the docks. It was really fun.

How did you keep the feathers under control? Feathers seem to be only just slightly better then straw, and somewhere near glitter on the list of annoyingly messy "props".
 
How did you keep the feathers under control? Feathers seem to be only just slightly better then straw, and somewhere near glitter on the list of annoyingly messy "props".

Good question! The sheer mass of the number of feathers did a pretty good job of keeping any stray "ad-libbers" from floating about, PLUS the top layer of the "water" was a good two feet below the platforms. In one scene, Scapino jumps in, and yes, at that point, some feathers took flight, but it simply added to the sheer silliness of the moment. If you don't know the show, it is extremely slapstick and tongue-in-cheek, so any stray feathers really just added to the fun.
 

Dreadpoet

Active Member
For a forum that is notorious for saying"we need more information" ...I am surprised at the lack of just that. my biggest question is, does the audience sit above or below your stage....many high school auditoriums you don't really get a superb view of the actual stage. When all else fells...go "artsie". Maybe really light fabric stretched across the acting area with fans blowing under it to signify water...perhaps reinforce with dual rotating gobos to give the lighting ripple effect. Audiences appreciate artsie...it makes you look so darn clever.
 

MNicolai

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For a forum that is notorious for saying"we need more information" ...I am surprised at the lack of just that. my biggest question is, does the audience sit above or below your stage....many high school auditoriums you don't really get a superb view of the actual stage. When all else fells...go "artsie". Maybe really light fabric stretched across the acting area with fans blowing under it to signify water...perhaps reinforce with dual rotating gobos to give the lighting ripple effect. Audiences appreciate artsie...it makes you look so darn clever.

Except "Artsy" doesn't do proper justice to the play in question. As someone who has done Metamorphoses, I can safely say that doing the play with fans, feathers, fog, or anything that's not water would completely change the play. We're talking the difference between the audience getting tears in their eyes at the end of play or not.

I thought getting into that project that we could get away with ground fog or something else creative, but I know better now. That play should not be done without water. My position is that if you can't do it with water for one reason or another, you shouldn't apply for the rights to it.
 
We did metamorphoses a couple years ago, and for insurance reasons we couldn't have a pool. What we did do, was create a big platform on a compound angle and painted the bottom to look like water. Not the best set we've ever had, but it got the job done. If you really wanted to make something look like water, might I suggest some digital lights like the DL3?
 

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