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removable floor and tear away scrims

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by jessamarie6, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. jessamarie6

    jessamarie6 Member

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    Ok, so I have two separate questions here for the same show.

    First, I have a floor that will be painted to look like tile. It needs to be solid enough that the actors can walk around on it safely. As the show progresses the tiles will be removed in large chunks, by actors, to reveal a different floor underneath. I'm worried a masonite floor would be too heavy and awkward for actors to carry. Has anyone done a lauan floor? I'm worried about splinters. I looked into rubber sheets (essentially 1/4" thick Marley), but it's running too expensive. The floor is 13'x31' and the pieces pulled up might be as big as 3'x4'. Any ideas?

    Second, I have 8 3'x12' cotton scrims that will be hung on home-made rotodrapers. They will be moved by actors over the course of the show. At the end of the show they need to be ripped down and taken away. I can't have them falling down early if an actor pulls a little too hard when moving one, but they can't be too hard to get down when the time comes. Brilliant suggestions?
     
  2. arik52

    arik52 Member

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    3'x4' "tiles" will most likely be a bit awkward to carry in general. Luaun would be fine, and masonite is not at all heavy if you use something like 1/4" masonite. I haven't seen a problem with splinters on a luaun floor. Will your actors be wearing shoes? I'd suggest 1/2" ply, but that would be relatively heavy.

    I don't fully understand what you're looking for with the scrims. In the show I'm currently designing, there are black out curtains that get ripped down at the end of the show. They've been sewed so that there are finished holes to be put in small nails to hang, but can be pulled down without ruining the fabric. If you don't care about the holes being seen, you could always grommet them as well. I wouldn't suggest velcro or snaps - they have a tendency not to work when you want them too. And staples are easy enough to put in at the top of every show night and rip out, but it would damage the fabric, especially if you're using scrims.
     
  3. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    A couple questions. The actors are going to be pulling up the tiles to show a floor that the tiles are sitting or? Or is there a space between the two floors?

    How does the director want the actors to remove the tiles? Is this an exploratory scene where they are frantically ripping up flooring, or is this an obviously deliberate symbolic motion? (this is important, it will influence what materials to use, based on the needed durability and method of removal)

    How many runs of the show are you planning? (i.e. is this a 3 night run or a 3 month run?)

    What sort of stage will this be performed on? Will the audience be able to see the flooring underneath?
     
  4. jessamarie6

    jessamarie6 Member

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    The actors will be pulling up the tiles to show the painted mural on the floor underneath. It should be a very deliberate more symbolic motion.
    The theatre is a small black box (100 seats-ish) which is set up in a long 3/4 thrust. So in essence this is a very controlled removal of tiles, and the audience will be close enough to see everything.

    Thanks.
     
  5. jessamarie6

    jessamarie6 Member

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    Oh, and the show will run about 30 performances, but the actors will be rehearsing in the space on the set for about 3 weeks prior to opening.
     
  6. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    great stuff... do the tiles cover the whole stage, and does the script specify the times and/or number of tiles to be be removed ?
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Something I saw at Sam's Club yesterday might work... they're the large rubber "puzzle piece" tiles (about one inch thick) for weight rooms and child care centers (something about protecting kids if they fall on the floor?)

    A pack of 5 costs $20, and each "piece" is roughly 2.5'x2.5'. Just paint them to whatever color. They also had some black square ones, but I didn't make note of pricing or size.
     
  8. jessamarie6

    jessamarie6 Member

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    I am still waiting on a breakdown from my designer on how the tiles are removed and in what size pieces. The impression I get from the drawings I have is that some tile are remove as singles (2'x2' squares) some are removed in pairs and sometimes the breaks happen along more organic lines that do not follow the tile pattern at all.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You have to have some sort of locking mechanism to lock the pieces in place. I don't think friction will do it. Coffin locks would work well for this, but of course that would require them to come out with a wrench. I would look at some sort of locking "tab" that each piece has to secure it. I would also be worried about the thinness of your material. Don't know if you have had the pleasure of laying a maso floor before, but even with 1/4" maso it is difacult to get the sheets to lay perectly flat and square. Not only that, but you will be cutting at the pieces which could add twists to the piece. I would highly consider using maso and 1/4" ply or 1/2" ply. Luan will give you huge headaches at the seams, so I would avoid that at all costs.
     
  10. jessamarie6

    jessamarie6 Member

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    So, to make my life infinately easier (and because my budget has been cut) the entire floor concept is gone.

    I'm still struggling with the scrims though. I have an idea, but since it's all just a theory right now I would appreciate if anyone could give me a second opinion as to whether it will work.

    I will have a 3' long piece of conduit suspended from a single bolt pivot point, which will be attached to a carrier on a length of traveler track. Hanging off of this piece of conduit will be a 3'x12' scrim, with a chain pocket at the bottom.

    During the course of the show the scrims will be pulled around the stage and spin on the pivot points (all actor operated). At the end of the show an the actors should be able to pull on the scrims, have them fall off the conduit and take them offstage.

    My plan is to sew essentially a pipe pocket at the top of the scrim, but split it down the center. On either side of the split I would grommet the scrim, and then lace it back together with tie line. the tie line will hang down the scrim and be just in actor reach. When the actors are pulling the scrims around the stage they will not touch the tie line, but when they want the scrim to fall they will pull the end of the tie line, unlacing the grommets and ideally the scrim will fall easily.

    Is this crazy? Will it work? Is friction going to kill me? Any ideas on how to "actor-proof" the system?
     

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