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Rotating Flat

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Set Design and Construction
Forum Discription: Post your questions or suggestions about designing or building a set here.
Printed Date: 6/25/24 at 3:20pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Rotating Flat
Posted By: Kim L.
Subject: Rotating Flat
Date Posted: 1/01/08 at 9:13am
As I'm designing my set for Pride and Prejudice, which needs to move quickly from one location to another and many locations, I am considering an idea I saw in a set. This particular set was a box set made to look like an interior room (made from ajoining flats). However, several of the flats were set on a pivot made from a dowel, enclosed in a frame. As you rotated the flat, there was a different "look" on each side (brick on one and bookcase on the other).

Can someone give me instructions on how to construct these? Do they have a name?

I think I could figure this out, but thought I would pick the wise minds of you folks first.

Thanks for always answering my novice questions!


Posted By: closetdiva
Date Posted: 1/02/08 at 11:56am
I was in the cast of a show that used these. They're officially called "periactoids" ( %20 - was the first Google hit).
Ours were for "Secret Garden" and the chorus members had to move them. It added additional choreography. As long as yours are kept as walls they should work great. (Ours had the additional task of becoming the garden - with leaf and vine cutouts and gelled fairy lights - that could only be plugged in after they were in place - two seconds before they had to come on.)
Ours were four-sided columns (we settled on this after too many of us called them pterodactyls!). To keep things as light as possible, they attached luon to 2x2 posts - the luon was slightly longer than the posts to mask the scooter wheels attached to each of the four corners. Paint rollers and painter's tape came in very handy for painting the things - which came *after* assembly. (Ours were about 7 feet tall)
If you put any "artwork" for the houses on the walls - best option is to mount a printout on foamcoare to keep things lightweight. (Another show I was involved with decided to go for "real" paintings - it took three people to move *one* - as opposed to one person moving the column for Secret Garden).
Note: if you plan on having these towards the back of your set - to be rotated - make them 3-sided instead of four - less of a chance of them getting stuck during the changes.
Best of luck!

Duct tape can fix anything - except a dropped line! ;-)

Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 1/03/08 at 3:19pm
This may help you kim with Medici Wings [Periaktios (Greek for Revolving)]? - - -
You can do just a double sided Colious {I think that's how you spell it} which was used in Roman times.
This can be done by either attaching 2 flats back to back or a double sided skin on a flat.
But as you use a 'gymeatre' or 'Theatorium' skrewing a spigot into the stage may be a problem.
However you can over come this by mounting the spigot on a piece of ply board. Apply a strip of of old pile carpet to the under side of the flats tail batten, with the pile down to contact the stage, which will give easy & smooth rotation of the flats.
Last time I did a series of these I mounted a 'Pipe flange' which had a number of bolt holes in the colar & used a bolt as a locator stud. The top of the flats were held by a central spigot & spring loaded. So the flats were raised slightly against the spring, then revolved & the base locating bolt dropped into the pipe flange bolt holes. Thus each of the wing flats were reset to a preset angle.
[This may be more than you require?]
With seamless set changes it is always better to [KISS] Keep It Simple Stupid! Even with choreographed scene shift changes employ the 'Idiot Check' factor!

[western] Gondawandaland
"Hear the light & see the sound!
{may you always play to a full house!}

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