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The Producers

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by red1138, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. red1138

    red1138 Member

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    Hello All, I have tried searching for this topic in previous posts but have come up empty, so I am starting a new thread. My apologies if this is somehow a duplicate.

    I am the TD/ assistant designer/ props master for a small community theatre in Louisville, KY. We are getting ready to mount a production of "The Producers" and I am finding the set quite challenging, especially Max's office with all of the practical doors which are required and the "Swedish Treatment" in Act II. My first thought was a turntable, but that is not working out so much right now and would be a tremendous cost and build for us.

    My question, has anyone out there done this show on a small stage? What were your solutions and do you have pictures? Our stage is approximately 28' x 28' with very little wing space.

    My second major problem are those darn pigeons. Any suggestions? My internet searches have not turned up very much that is helpful.

    Thanks in advance for the input.
     
  2. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Double wagons for the office One white one Not.



    I cant give you specs or pictures I will get in trouble as this is one of our shows this summer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
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  3. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    I SM'ed the show 18 months ago in a very small, oddly shaped space - 10 metres wide but only 6 metres deep at the deepest point - and in 3/4 thrust, so a lot shallower than 6m for a lot of the stage. All we did for the office was had pictures all over the walls, architraves and skirting boards bolted on to the wall, and clothes all over the sofa; at interval we took the pictures off, unbolted the architraves and skirting boards and uncovered the sofa - and it worked like a charm. I guess if you wanted to you could hang up replacement pictures and architraves which had been painted over in white, but we didn't! It's also worth noting that the British tour cut the white office gag as they didn't have space for the extra scenery, so there is precedent for that. Our pigeons were made out of polystyrene with wings attached by cloth and heads on a swivel - 3 wire rods coming off them and they were backed with black cloth which the wires went through. We had a person operating each pigeon, and with black gloves they had no problems putting the swastika armbands on (they were stuck with velcro) at a point when the audience was looking elsewhere - here's a pic...

    [​IMG]

    This is the only pic I have uploaded of the office - I'll have a look when I get home for any more! This was in tech week prior to the architraves being attached, so they're not there...

    [​IMG]

    We also have almost no wingspace - we have a dock area but getting stuff into it involves a gap 2 metres wide by 2 metres high, so mostly we don't take set pieces out there! It must be said that our set was a masterpiece; there were flats on tracks which were hinged so they could fold to become other locations (hard to explain but essentially the outer quarter on each side could fold into the centre to produce a flat twice the depth and half the width) and we also had a lot of stuff track in from what little wingspace we had - a door and curtain for Roger Debris' house, a cloth painted to look like a page of figures for the accountants' office, a backdrop and big swastika for Springtime for Hitler. Max's office was two walls which were always at about 120 degrees to each other, but swung so that either one was running in a straight line from OP to PS (does that make any sense?!) so that we could open and shut the office as need be; we had a raised platform (about 1.2m high) at the back of the stage, and under that were two sets of articulated stairs which could be moved into a multitude of positions - we used one set for Roger's house, both sets for Springtime, both sets for the opening of the show and so on.

    This is the very end of Springtime...

    [​IMG]

    and this is the start if I Wanna Be A Producer - you can see the stairs in their folded up positions here
    [​IMG]

    Further into I Wanna Be - the flats had the centre pieces folded back to create an opening on the platform where the "Leo Bloom Presents" sign was visible
    [​IMG]

    And oddly enough, you can see the stairs best in this pic which was taken on day 2 of pack-in - also gives you a sense of the space a bit better:
    [​IMG]

    The folding flats I mentioned, when fully opened, hid the raised platform so you could put people up there and then open the flat to reveal them; the big swastika tracked on to there and then split to reveal Roger as Hitler behind it.

    Hope these pics are of some help to you - I had an absolute blast on the show, it's one that will live long in my memory and one I'd take on again at the drop of a hat! Have fun :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
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  4. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    WE just got done with the show and, for the office, we used three small reversible walls.

    Wagon 1 - Upstage window - brown for act 1, flips to white for act 2.
    Wagon 2 - Front door in brown for act 1, flips to white and becomes the closet for act 2.
    Wagon 3 - Closet in brown for act 2 - flips to white and becomes the front door for act 2.

    We hid the casters in columns, file cabinets, etc that were part of each wall so the actors did not have to step off of a platform to enter or exit.

    This approach means that the size of the door must be the same for act 1 and two - but you can put in columns, etc to make them seem different.

    Fun show. Enjoy it.
     
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  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First off, the "white-wash" gag is not really in the script, the office is just soppsed to appear clean and new. It can be achieved by simply changing the furniture, adding new drapes to the windows, and such like that.

    As it stands, the show is a giant game of scenery tetris backstage, so if you don't have wing space, you don't want to add any extra units or pieces.

    I think that the way we did the birds was brilliantly simple. Each one was a puppet, and we had actors behing the coup each controlling two birds. For "Heil you know who!" we had one wing of each bird connected to a control line, and with one pull, each bird saluted.

    For photos, click here, or browse back about a year ago in the show photos thread in the lighting forum.

    If you want to see photos from our
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have the first national U.S. tour set onstage right now for our show. We don't have the white set, they cut it 5 years ago or so to bust it down to a 2 truck show. I can take a few shots of the bird cage rig and post them if you would like. Its a very simple system. Now... the dancing nazi rig, thats a bit more complicated.

    I just spent half of tonight re-wiring a 10 year old wirelss DMX interface that we had shipped from the U.K. that was butchered one its last rental... that was fun. This set is what we like to call "tired".
     
  7. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Nice Photos wolf ;)
     
  8. red1138

    red1138 Member

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    Amazing and helpful pictures. Thanks! Since I've posted the thread we have had a few production meetings and axed the all white set and gone for a "clean" set. Still a lot of scenery, but manageable.
     
  9. red1138

    red1138 Member

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    I would love to see the Pigeon unit if its not too much trouble.
     

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