Three Sisters

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Three Sisters is a play by Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was performed on the main stage of the Citizens Theatre in April 2010 as a collaboration between the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and The Citizens Theatre.

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Creative Team

Director - Guy Hollands (Citizens Director)

Set & Costume Designer - Holly Hogart

Lighting Designer - Katrina Kelly

Stage Manager - Claire Semple (Citizens Staff)

Deputy Stage Manager - Emma Whoriskey

Assistant Stage Managers - Samantha Burt, Barry (Citizens Staff)

Technical Stage Manager - Louise Marr

Production Electrician - Sean McKenzie

LX Board Op. - Barry McDonald

Sound Board Op. - Jonathan Towers

Scenic Elements

5m Long Table (strong enough to be danced on)

Black Petals (used to cover the whole of the MS & DS stage areas)

Flown 4m x 3.5m Persian Rug

Flown Wooden Furniture Frame

Walk Down Trap with Handrails

19 Flown Sliver Birch Trees with Roots

Bark Chippings (used to cover the whole of the US area)

3 Section Veranda Rostra

Flown Rope Swing

30 Minute Leaf Drop

Technical Solutions

Flown 4m Persian Rug

This was particularly hard to source due to the size and look of the rug: the designer wanted a traditional red Persian design 4m x 3.5m in size. We eventually sourced this from Little Persia, Glasgow. The rug was 120 years old and due to its hand made nature not square which proved to be a huge problem when we came to hang it!

We trapped the top and bottom of the carpet between lengths of 3 x 1 and sparingly braded these together. We then covered the top and bottom with a foot of ply covered in black surge. This reduced the overall height of the rug but gave a straighter edge. The top baton then had flying irons mounted on it and we drifted the rug to a fly bar.

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Flown Wooden Furniture Frame

This was a huge 4m x 5m wooden frame made of lots of timber strips of varying sizes and materials doted with old pieces of furniture. The overall weight of this piece was 260kg; due to this the piece was flown over two bars joined with triangular truss and suspended from 4 steels.

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Walk Down Trap with Handrails

This was to be a permanently open trap throughout the whole of Act 3 and was the only entrance and exit point for the scene and received a huge amount of traffic up and down it. Due to the construction of the Citizens stage the trap area was restricted to being 2m wide x 0.9m deep x 1.9m high this meant that the stairs up to stage from the under stage would have to be very steep!

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The trap was opened and set at the interval however the handrails had to be removed and the trap shut by cast during a live, very busy and quick scene change. This influenced the construction of the handrails and trap lid, they had to be easily removed and carried off stage and the trap shut by cast in 1900's costumes.

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19 Flown Sliver Birch Trees with Roots

These silver birch trees were sourced from the Forestry Commission in Aberfoyle in a sustainable area and felled by a professional tree surgeon sourced by the Citizens Theatre. They were then moved and transported from Aberfoyle by the Citizens Theatre crew. The trees needed to be 5m long with one needing to be 6m. The trees were to have no branches and flat bottoms; the root network would be added by the scenic department at the Citizens Theatre once the trees were hung. The trees were then stiffened by a metal rod attached to the fly bar and bolted into the top of the tree to prevent them spinning or swaying too much.

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Veranda Rostra

This was to look like the porch entrance to the house and was set during a live scene change by actors. The rostra was split into 3 sections: 2 upper sections and 1 lower section. These were mounted on casters and wheeled on-stage then drop bolted in position. The rostra was set along the line of the DS hard maskers which not only helped to define the rostras position on-stage but also prevent in from running down stage on the raked stage.

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Due to the 1:12 rake at the Citizens Theatre drop bolts do not work as effectively as on a flat stage so a secondary measure was used to hold the rostra in place: a U shaped piece of metal that would link the rostra sections together preventing them from moving.

Flown Rope Swing

This was to look like a worn garden swing that had been made many years ago by one of the sisters. This would have been a very simple operation in many theatres: 2 spot lines dropped from the grid and tied off at the seat of the swing and controlled from the fly floor. However, the tightly packed wooden grid of the Citizens Theatre prevents any spot lines being rigged straight to the grid instead if required and there is not room for a moving fly bar to be used they must be rigged off a fly bar and the fly bar strapped down at fly floor height.

I choose to splice the ends of the rope together as this looked neater and provided a strong join.

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30 Minute Leaf Drop

The Desired effect was to look like leaves gently falling in an autumn breeze. One or two leafs were to fall randomly over a period of 30minutes. We considered many ways of achieving this effect but in the end this consisted of me walking up and down the rear catwalk above the stage dropping the leaves at random points in one's, two's and three's.

The alternatives to achieving this effect could have been:

The Mouse Trap

A Hinged Drop Box

A Snow Drop Bag