Running water on stage?

TaylorRose

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Location
Boston, MA
I hunted the threads and available resources and have concluded that I need some more thoughts.

I am a new TD for a high school that participates in a statewide high school drama festival. Of course, the script calls for a character to

"hose down the tiled floor. Water flows into the drain."

The show starts and ends with this image.

Hose, running water, drain, easy enough, right? The trick is that this whole contraption needs to travel, fit through a single door, and be set up in 5 minutes and taken down in 5 minutes. I can help with the building but not with the installation.

Before ruling out running water and finding the obvious alternative with a sound effect and some lights/projection I wanted to pose the question:

How the hell do I get running water on stage within these parameters?
 

techieman33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Location
topeka, ks
With a water fountain pump. It could even be battery powered if it needed to be, there are a lot of 12v pumps on the market. It sounds like it doesn't need to run very long so you could have a small tank or bucket with the pump already attached to it and ready to go. Just fill it up with water on site and turn on the pump when you need it. And then it could drain into a seperate holding tank built into a rolling platform. If the drain and tank are setup right you could stand the platform up on it's side onto a dolly and wheel the whole thing outside where you would have plenty of time to drain the holding tank. Then have a couple people standing by with mops and towels to clean up any water that actually hits the stage floor.

My gut reaction is that they won't allow you to use an effect like that on the stage though. To many ways for it to go wrong and at the minimum cause a long delay for cleanup.
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
As Techieman alluded to: have you run this by the manager of the venue hosting this festival (assuming that is not you yourself)? If I were to host a hypothetical drama festival in my hypothetical venue, I'm pretty sure I would have considerable concerns with a group that came in and proceeded to flood their set with water. Perhaps if you ask them they'll tell you "no way," and that would make your decision somewhat simpler. (Along those same lines, I'd have misgivings about having high school students perform on a tile floor that was just hosed down and thus is presumably slippery.)

Another possibility besides lighting effects might be to substitute some other action/effect in general for flooding the floor. Wheeling out a mop bucket and mopping (or making like you're mopping) the tiles comes to mind as a potential option, depending on the script. Seeing that water is running into a floor drain on a tile floor on the stage from the viewpoint of someone in the audience seems an awfully subtle detail.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I hunted the threads and available resources and have concluded that I need some more thoughts.

I am a new TD for a high school that participates in a statewide high school drama festival. Of course, the script calls for a character to

"hose down the tiled floor. Water flows into the drain."

The show starts and ends with this image.

Hose, running water, drain, easy enough, right? The trick is that this whole contraption needs to travel, fit through a single door, and be set up in 5 minutes and taken down in 5 minutes. I can help with the building but not with the installation.

Before ruling out running water and finding the obvious alternative with a sound effect and some lights/projection I wanted to pose the question:

How the hell do I get running water on stage within these parameters?
@TaylorRose
Assumptions, queries and comments:
1; I'm assuming gravity still works in your part of our world.
2; Can I assume you've already got a plan for collecting your post hosing water and a means of guiding it down a drain?
3; Dealing with water AFTER it's left your hose will conceivably be a bigger problem.
4; How much water are you envisioning, a token amount or more than five gallons?
5; Optimistically there's a source of water available inside, or nearby, your venues; ideally you don't have to truck gallons and gallons and gallons of water with you.
6; Gravity can be your friend; a bucket of water with a hose fitting attached to its bottom, or one side near its bottom to leave its bottom flat to sit down when not required for use.
7; Lifting your bucket of water up higher than the open end of your hose will cause water to flow out of the free end of your hose.
8; Lowering your bucket and / or raising the free end of your hose will cause your water to stop flowing.
9; Need more pressure? Add a water pump to your rig, a 12 volt DC automotive water pump and a car battery could be your answer; how much ancillary gear are you able and willing to tote?
10; Optimistically I've given you a few thoughts to get you started.
11; Hopefully you can transport your bucket emply and fill it when you arrive at each venue; water's heavy and sloshy to transport.
12; A gravity powered solution will be quieter, and weigh less, than a motorized pump and car battery.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I hunted the threads and available resources and have concluded that I need some more thoughts.

I am a new TD for a high school that participates in a statewide high school drama festival. Of course, the script calls for a character to

"hose down the tiled floor. Water flows into the drain."

The show starts and ends with this image.

Hose, running water, drain, easy enough, right? The trick is that this whole contraption needs to travel, fit through a single door, and be set up in 5 minutes and taken down in 5 minutes. I can help with the building but not with the installation.

Before ruling out running water and finding the obvious alternative with a sound effect and some lights/projection I wanted to pose the question:

How the hell do I get running water on stage within these parameters?
@TaylorRose Here's another thought for you, one you may like better: Silent, no pumps or batteries, readily portable.
Look into "bladder tanks". Bladder tanks are similar to "hydraulic accumulators" only for water rather than hydraulic oil.

Bladder tanks are commonly used on cottage and farming water systems, systems where electric or gas powered pumps are used to pump water from a nearby lake up hill to the cottage or farm. Rather than having to run the pump each and every time you want a glass of water, you run the pump to fill your bladder tank and compress the air trapped behind the bladder. Once the pump has reached a desired maximum pressure, a switch senses the pressure and shuts the pump off. You can use water at whatever amount and rate you need until the pressure in the bladder tank becomes too low to be useful then you need to run the pump again to refill the tank and re-compress its bladder.

An area amateur group did a production about cooking with a kitchen sink in a portable counter unit which required running water.
I purchased a small ( Approximately 3 gallon) bladder tank and added a ball valve as a shutoff for transit.
After every performance, I took the tank home and refilled it from our garden hose, our home was closer to Lake Ontario and our garden hose delivered decent pressure filling the tank sufficiently for two performances (matinee and evening). The venue was miles from Lake Ontario where city water pressure was lower and wouldn't push as much water into the tank as our garden hose.

Prior to each performance, I'd position the bladder tank in its cupboard below the sink, connect it to the sink's cold water tap and open the ball valve ready for another performance. Pushing water up hill, even from the bottom of the cupboard to the sink's tap, requires an amount of pressure. Our carpenter built a little shelf in the cupboard under the sink to raise our bladder tank as high as possible, until it was immediately below the bottom of the sink.

Worked well, a year or two later another area amateur group borrowed the bladder tank when they produced the same production.
Quiet, small enough to be portable (as long as you don't need 45 gallons of water) conveniently refillable, a great little solution and not too expensive to implement.
Home Depot, or similar, MAY stock bladder tanks; companies dealing with water systems for cottages and farms would definitely know of and stock them. Travel trailer suppliers MAY be another source.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 
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DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
@TaylorRose Here's another thought for you, one you may like better: Silent, no pumps or batteries, readily portable.
Look into "bladder tanks". Bladder tanks are similar to "hydraulic accumulators" only for water rather than hydraulic oil.

...

Travel trailer suppliers MAY be another source.
I've also heard these called "pressure tanks." Any house with a private well will have one, so they are not at all uncommon.

RV water systems nowadays pretty much universally use an on-demand pump and very rarely have any accumulator or pressure tank. If there is one, it is tiny and only serves to smooth out the flow from the diaphragm pump. All that to say that you needn't bother asking for a bladder tank from an RV place.
 

microstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Location
Lawton, OK
You could use an old fashion "Hudson sprayer" aka garden sprayer. These have a tank you would pour the water into, pressurize with the pump handle, and trigger the sprayer valve to get the pressurized water. Works pretty well when you need running water in a kitchen sink onstage and no water supply nearby. But don't do what I did and forget to add a catch pan under the sink drain!!
Also make sure the audience can actually see the stage floor in the performance venue.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
I didn't read everybody's response yet but on first glance your best bet would be to use a Hudson sprayer bottle for pressure and use another tank to hold the water. the pressure from the Hudson forces the water out of the storage container and voila water out the hose. Use a low flow restricter on the hose end and have the actor make big motions so it looks like a lot of water.
As for the drain,; make your floor a set of platforms and build a EDPM <Pondliner> lined box as a catch for the drain.

4x8 platforms or Triscuits for a raised stage area are easy to load in.

I HATE the time restrictions on HS one act festival. I think they are ridiculous and detract for the Art form.
 

gafftaper

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Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Yeah, call the venue first. If it was my space the answer is no way. A hudson sprayer and pond liner is the answer of how to do it, but how do you get the water back out of the pond and how do you get the actor off the stage, and how do you clear it all out leaving a dry floor in 5 minutes. I don't think it can be done reliably without a Cirque Du Soleil budget.
 
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macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
How large of an area has to be hosed down? A rolling platform with a prefab shower liner with a drain and the previously recommended bladder tank seems workable.
They also use these bladder tanks for mobile irrigation. Most malls have these tanks on wheels so they can walk around the mall and water plants.
 

Robert Books

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
the big thing to think about is how much bang you will get for your buck on this.
Years ago, had a director insist on Rain on the stage. Slate tiles laid, everything was worked out, rigged, and tested, flooded the garage the first time it ran. actual performance time came, and only the first three rows heard any of the rain falling on the slate. huge waste of time, budget, and manpower if you ask me for no real wow from the audience. If you can do it quicker and cheaper with just a mop and bucket, then great! it is more important to get the idea ans sense across to the audience than the "real" thing happening.
 

lwinters630

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2011
Location
west of Chicago
As ffaAs as
I hunted the threads and available resources and have concluded that I need some more thoughts.

I am a new TD for a high school that participates in a statewide high school drama festival. Of course, the script calls for a character to

"hose down the tiled floor. Water flows into the drain."

The show starts and ends with this image.

Hose, running water, drain, easy enough, right? The trick is that this whole contraption needs to travel, fit through a single door, and be set up in 5 minutes and taken down in 5 minutes. I can help with the building but not with the installation.

Before ruling out running water and finding the obvious alternative with a sound effect and some lights/projection I wanted to pose the question:

How the hell do I get running water on stage within these parameters?
An alternate to EDPM pond liner use Mapei Aquadefense. It is a roll on (paint roller) waterproof liner for shower.
Roll it direct to your plywood with drain in it. You can paint it to look like tile. Check out YouTube for shower drains. You could use Grani-rapid to paint a tile look onto the aquadefense to give texture slip resistant surface.