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Technical Stage Department
General Set Breakdown
The set design for L'Etoile was based a sea side pier. The show itself having 3 Acts which consisted of 2 large scene changes to adapt the pier shaped staging into looking like other sets. the set was designed to resemble the look of concrete, the paint finish was a textured grey pattern which had been painted across the flooring and the structure. the main structure stayed throughout all 3 acts. this consisted of a run for 10 - 8x4 steel decks at 1.2m with 2 large 'islands' extruding to the DS corners on either side of the decking. resting against these islands were 2 large diagonal treads which were used to get up onto the deck from the DS area. There were also 2 sets of treads off stage which changed positions between act 1 and 2. In addition to the set, the design had 6 - 8m tall truss booms which were visible and 4 Counterweight LX bars that were visible. However these were added for the design and so the units on them would not have been used. As a compromise between LX and Anna these were changed so Emma (Lighting Designer) could use these positions for her Design rather than doubling up the amount of LX. There was a printed cloth on bar 30 which was our back drop for the show, printed on this cloth was ocean scape just to add more depth into the sea side theme of the set. As a house tab we used a full tab on Bar 1 and on bar 9 was a run of Festoon used for the end of Act 1.
to start off this sea side themed production the main structure is revealed to the audience with the addition of 5 large slope pieces filling in the mid stage area of the decking (between the 2 angled treads), a large lottery like machine (the star machine) Centre stage on the steel deck and 2 more additional steel decks Up stage centre where the off stage treads were positioned. Lining the back of the steel deck structure was 3 long, light blue handrails which added to the sea side pier look of the set.
During the interval between Act 1 and 2 there was a large change which had to happen to get us into act 2.
The Down stage area the first thing that had to happen at the top of the interval was the removal of the 5 slopes. these were reinforced so performers could run up and down them meaning they were bulky and heavy pieces to lift, manageable with 2 people but took a bit of time to travel with. the fascia of the slopes was a full sized sheet of 18mm ply (width - 1220mm depth 2440mm) there were 3 full pieces and the 2 end slopes were angled so were a bit lighter. these could stack nicely on top of each other in the dock so they could keep out of way quite neatly. to replace this now open space on stage was a large collection of purple velveted seats which were all tucked in around the treads and steel deck fascia to create a large purple sofa. On the floor was a large roll of carpet which extruded from the DS edges of the sofas, this created a pentagon shape, which is a reoccurring shape within the set design.
The UP Stage area whilst the DS area is being transformed into sofa land a tram Up stage removes the blue handrails from the back of the set and 2 of the joiners which were bolted onto the back of the steel deck so it sat off the staging. the 2 off stage treads are removed and put onto the sides of the steel deck where they stayed for the remainder of the show. these treads had blue handrails which were swapped out for 2 chrome ones as well. The 2 Up stage steel decks were removed as well, The stage Right one lived in the SL wing for the remainder of the show and was covered in a large piece of black tat to disguise it from the audience. The SL steel deck had a secondary use, the legs for this platform had castors on it and was used as a 'get off' platform for the star machine. This meant we didn't have to try and lift or lower this large machine on and off stage, it was simply wheeled onto the platform, bolted to it and then both were wheeled into the scene dock. Whilst this happened a larger handrail joiner is bolted onto the back of the steel deck and a big yellow handrail is brought on and slotted into the joiner. finally a crash matt is positioned Up of the yellow handrail.#
The Mid stage area at the top of the interval the LX team unplug the power, HDMI and DMX to the star machine and would wheel it to the stage left island, out of the way and ready for pick up with the get off platform. before the platform can be moved from Up stage we landed the main set piece for Act 2 (the star) this was a large 8m tall, skeleton framed pentagon which was suspended above the set for Act 2 and 3. This is kept in the Double purchase spacing during act 1 making it a NO FLY zone throughout the show. In order to land the star we needed to fly out all the DS borders and LX bars to pivot the star to a horizontal position. the star was stored and lowered on 4 half Ton Loadguard motors, once landed onto the decking it was swapped out for 5 Kinesys points which would do the rest of the moves to get it into position for act 2.
Going from act 2 into Act 3 we had about 4 minutes of music to do the change before we had to be ready with the cast on stage. This was a big task that we had to achieve but did so with plenty of practice and with everyone keeping to there lists and learning the changers well. our fasted time was 2 minutes and 50 seconds.
The Down stage area the sofas and the carpet Down stage had to be removed relatively quickly as well as the stage left angled treads which was a big and bulky set piece. removing these treads revealed a TV which was cut into the steel deck and projected a digital clock for Act 3. Once the area was clear a large, carpeted crypt was placed Centre stage along with a golden coffin covered in flowers.
The mid stage and Upstage area the first thing that had to happen here was the reattachment of the Up stage Kinesys point, once joined and tension taken we could lift the star off the yellow handrail. during this time the LX team had pushed the crash matt up stage so we could get in to remove the yellow handrail. once the yellow handrail was free we could lift it off and tuck it straight under the steel deck. Once the yellow handrail was clear the star would be lowered in to a hovering height on stage before doing its Act 3 lift position, once this cue was complete the stage team would bolt the star to the floor and it would be landed onto the steel deck.
kinesys lift operations Once the star was disconnected from the Loadguard motors the Kinesys would come into a negative numbered dead, this aloud us the slack needed to connect it up onto the system. the next cue in the stack was a tension cue, this was so the head of stage could check all the various rigging pieces before lifting it out. One happy to carry on the next lift was a dead lift the 2m, this gave the stage team space to attach the yellow handrail to the decking which was important for the next moves for the star. when happy, the head of stage called the star to its next cue position which was a lower to 1100mm and then onto its next cue which was to its pivot move where the DS corner would lift to its position for act 2 and then landing on the handrail and pinned to it for security. once secure, the Upstage centre point was slackened and removed from the star.
rigging for star The star had 10 - M12 eye bolts with 100mm threads on them, these were our rigging points for the star each point had 2 eye bolts which consisted of a 1 and a half ton shackle (moussed) with grey 600mm climbing sling through the shackle on either eye bolt. Also on the sling was a 2 Ton shackle attached to a drift which was connected to the Kinesys point, the 2 Ton shackle could then slide along the climbing sling giving each point a slight adaptability to adjust as it does its various moves.
there was no wing masking for L'Etoile as requested by both Anna and PJ, this created a very open and spacious look to the stage and fitted in with her design, it did however mean we had to try to keep as much set, costume and props out of the wings for visibility reasons. there was Borders over head which had to be in specific places and specific sizes in order to make the hiding of the 'star' possible. The winch border had the surtitle board which dictated the starting hight and the proscenium opening. As the LX bars were all visible to the audience the borders main job was to hide the grid, counterweight bars and the 'star'. There was a NO FLY zone over the double purchase bars (bars 13 to 17) this was so we could hide the star in a vertical orientation in the mid stage area for Act 1. this is were the sizes of borders were more important as there was some larger gaps in the rig that meant you would see higher than usual. Border 2 (bar 12) was a 15x3 which was the same for border 1 (bar 7), there were also 2 16x5 borders Up stage as well, One on Bar 19 and another on 29. The reason why 19 had a larger border to 7 and 12 was because of the large spacing gap between the borders it would've been possible to look a 15x3 on bar 19, where as a 16x5 gave us an additional 2 meters of drop to play with. As for bar 29 the reasoning behind this one was because the back cloth only had a 4m drop meaning the border was in further than expected.