Set Break Down
For the purpose of further reference within this page, the following is a general breakdown of the scenic elements within this show.
The set consisted of an 800mm platform of steel deck, in a rectangle 7320mm wide by 6100mm long, and two more 4x4 steel decks on the US most length of the platform – accessed by treads. On the platform was pink flooring. A tread on tracks was custom built to manually slide from underneath the platform, providing access to the DS edge. On either side of the platform were towers (repurposed from the Chess set) that were 4880mm long, 1220 wide, and 2600mm tall at deck height. A similar tower was US of the platform, only this was 9760mm wide. The towers were constructed modularly.
In air items were three pink polyline drapes. SR/ SL were mounted on Kinesys and truss, while the US drape was tied to truss on two big tow winch motors. This created an infinity box. The cloth was also rigged to kabuki systems, borrowed from the National Theatre of Scotland. Other flying items were a rose cloth (scenic construction), a large hand (scenic construction), and a slash curtain (purchased from J.D McDougall’s). A red cloth was flown in US to frame the infinity box. Stage effects to be handled by the stage team were fans blowing the pink cloth, producing bubbles for a foam bath, a confetti drop DS, and an instance of performer flying MS.
Differing from the Original Design Prompt
In the white card, Alex – the designer – had designed several scenic elements with repercussions for the stage team that needed addressing before proceeding. Principle of which being a large tracking gate/wall. The wall was to track open at the centre to admit a performer and subsequently fly out. We pointed out early on that the width of the track opening would exceed the length of our fly floor and thus would not be able to fly out while open. It became apparent that the cost, weight, and logistics of this piece were not feasible, and it was shortly scrapped.
The towers were originally going to be of different dimensions and construction. They would additionally have to move on two axis, x and y, which would have been problematic for a stage crew to execute. This addressed, the towers were then designed to be those used previously on Chess, and to move only along the X axis (from left to right and vice versa). They would then be fitted with PTFE sliders which would assist their mobility.
The hand was originally going to look as though it was carrying in the slash curtain but was then asked to "carry" in the performer flying.
Stage and LX
It was quickly decided that the cloths would be rigged to truss and respectively to Kinesys (SR/SL) or the big two motors (US). Special motor sleds were built by Darren Wilson to help move the motors while in the grid and maintain social distancing. As the placement of the SR/ SL cloth did not align with the usual wells that the Kinesys is fed through, the Kinesys motors would have to be placed directly over the location they were needed. In order to do this, four grid panels would be removed, and the motors attached to bridals. These bridals were adjustable clutch chains secured to the grid beams. Although these bridal positions were calculated beforehand, the clutch chains are adjustable in situ.
The performer flying was to be done with the remaining two big tow winches. Originally, in order to leave flying bars available, we had intended to attach the hand flat to the same system that would fly the performer in, looking as though the hand was plucking the performer down. This would be achieved by attaching the lines of the winches to a 2m section of truss. The back span of the truss would carry the performer while the front span would be tied onto the hand. Ultimately this was not desired by the creative team and the hand was moved to an available bar DS of the performer flying. The hand was rigged using flying irons, wire drifts, and grommets.
The Kabuki system was borrowed from the National Theatre of Scotland. We acquired 13 units and three control panels. We had to hire more cable from Flints. Three kabuki units went on both the SR/SL truss while seven was placed on the US truss. In order to mount the eyelets of the pink cloth to the kabuki and keep the whole cloth taught, we constructed battens with nails through them that were in the same spacing as the eyelets. The battens would then be tied to the firing units using string, which when released, shifted the nails downwards - dropping the cloths.
The sliding DS treads were put on track underneath the platform. In order to eject from beneath the stage at the same width of the treads whilst also allowing them to hide beneath the stage at that same width (avoiding hitting the track), the treads were affixed on the inside to 2m scaffold pipes that were then attached to the track. The track had to have custom feet mounts in order to secure them to the ground.
The red cloth actually came as two legs and a border. The legs were tied onto a 7500mm scaff bar that we dropped from a counterweight bar, with the border masking that rigging from the bar itself. The rose cloth was tied directly from a 4500mm drop bar hanging from an overhead counterweight bar. The slash curtain was taped directly to a fly bar. The confetti drop had a deconstructed kabuki magnet inside a custom-built box that when powered would release the magnet and the lid of the box. The box was flown on a CW bar.
The lighting department had asked that several dropped bars be flown in on hemp adjacent to LX bars. This was done as it is unsafe to attached lights to the extensions on bars. They had also asked that we put in a section of truss that would house a projector in between two fly bars. We attached this truss span to load star motors that ran through the wells of the grid.
We had five borders and one gauze on CW bars.
We had intended to procure three large fans from the Lyceum Theatre that would blow air toward the base of the cloth and flow through the space, creating a wave effect in the cloth.
For the bubble bath scene, in which lots of bubbles but no water was required, we filled a bucket with soapy water, ratchet strapped a towel to the top of the bucket and slid the nozzle of a leaf blower through a space in the towel. When turned on and blowing, the leaf blower would produce bubbles in the water that would rise through the towel, creating foam devoid of water.