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moonface103
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bullet Topic: PJ Game Knife Board Trick
    Posted: 1/30/08 at 12:39pm
Hello out there!  My name is David and I'm Directing a Production of "The Pajama Game" at Haddonfield Plays & Players in South Jersey this coming July.  We're a non-profit, non-paying community theatre with limited resources.  I am looking for any ideas on where to rent the Knife Board Trick (for the knife throwing scene in the picnic) and the knife desk...OR if anyone has any suggestions on how to build these things that would be great too...I'm not a technical person at all and am not handy with any kind of construction other than using a screw gun...HOWEVER if you can give me plans or an idea on how to build it I can pass the info along to one of my friends that is mechanically inclined...  ANY HELP anyone can offer would be HUGELY appreciated!!!
 
Thanks very much for your time!
 
Sincerely,
 
David Mooney
Director/Producer - The Pajama Game
Haddonfield Plays & Players
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JoeMc
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bullet Posted: 1/30/08 at 7:20pm
G'day David
I designed the show that long ago, honestly I can't remember us having the knife board trick in it.
I think we pulled the pin on that bit.
Is it realy that important to the script?
Anyhow I would imagine the knives would pre set & spring loadedto pop up on a pivot. If the board is set up side on to the punters, say CSL or R. there would be no need to mask the cutaway to allow the duff knives to pop up.
You could use soleniods to activate the release of the knives, in sequence. This could be a series of buttons or a hand held PMRB [press to make realse to break] remote contact switch. This could be held by the warm target or even the SM off stage. Or use a number of string pull cords attaged to release pins, activated at the upstage side of the board. But this is a bit hap hazard & I'd go for the electrics operation.
Although it depends how many knives are chucked at the board. The thrower can palm the knives & cordination & rehearsal is essential.
The board can be set up thick enough to have the knives & soleniods fitted in.
You can even use a flat, set US of the leg & a techie could operate the mechanisms from off stage. Masked by the leg.
Sorry not much help! 
[western] Gondawandaland
"Hear the light & see the sound!
TOI TOI CHOOKAS
{may you always play to a full house!}
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mvp1114
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bullet Posted: 1/31/08 at 2:44pm

David -

When we did "Pajama Game" the picnic/knife scene was one of our favorite bits.  This is actually pretty easy to do; my description might be a little long tho'.

We purchased two sets of three or four cheap "throwing knives."  I don't remember at the moment how many knives actually get thrown, but we took one and ground the point and edge dull and drilled a hole in the blade about an inch from the tip (this is for the "throwing" knife held by the actor's upstage hand).  We put a short 1/4" bolt through the blade and put a wooden disc on each side to hold onto.  The actor held the wooden discs and pretended to throw the knife - it would flip around and lay out of sight along his arm (we never actually "threw" the knife, of course).  We also ground the edge off a couple more knives for him to hold in his downstage hand and pretend to take for each successive throw.  The actor stood on Stage Left and faced stage Right, so his throwing hand was upstage to help conceal the knife after thrown.

As for the backboard, we took a 4'x8' piece of plywood and stood it up on an A frame at a slight angle, Stage right & facing downstage left.  We had a set piece (a picnic table) to screen the downstage corner of the frame.  We had a tracing of a body (like a police body tracing) in yellow on the plywood face, the rest was black.  We milled slots in the plywood on either side of the "head," under the "armpit," and between the "legs;"  each slot was wide enough for a knife blade.  The black paint on the board concealed the milled slots.
 
We had (I think) five throwing knives that also had a hole drilled through the tip and the tip placed in wooden blocks about 1"x1"x2."  The blades were glued and pinned into these blocks.
 
Behind the backboard we had a stagehand who, in timing with the knife "throw," would shove the "blade"/block through the appropriate slot (we numbered the slots on the back side of the board with glow paint).  The block made a loud clunk when it hit the backboard, so it really looked/sounded like the knife was thrown.  The weight of the knife hanging through the backboard would hold it in place after it was pushed through - it would even "wiggle" a little after being shoved through.
 
It was a really neat bit, for all that it was only a minute or two of use onstage.  Pretty cool and easy & we got a LOT of comments from the audience like "you didn't REALLY throw those knives, did you?"Wink
 
Mike
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moonface103
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bullet Posted: 1/31/08 at 3:04pm
Thank you so much...Very helpful....I will pass this along to some folks that know about construction...I really appreciate it!
 
David
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TimJoseph
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bullet Posted: 4/22/08 at 5:13pm
Mike,
 

I volunteered to build the picnic/knife scene for an upcoming production of the "Pajama Game".  Iím uncelar about the construction details and was hoping to discuss it with you further.

 

Please call me at 602-361-3469

 

Tim

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