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Flip scenery design

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: 6/13/24 at 3:50pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Flip scenery design
Posted By: ange
Subject: Flip scenery design
Date Posted: 2/04/11 at 10:50pm
We are doing Annie Jr on a small stage with limited wing space for scene change flats. I came up with an idea to use a flip design on the back wall.
Put wood on a horizontal hinge and either raise it or lower to change the scene. Has anyone done something like this or can give me any input or suggestions? I was planning to use lauan. Is there something better?

Any help is appreciated.

Posted By: vickifrank
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 10:22am
An old fashioned fabric hinge works well for this as you've designed it.
Also see the other posts on reversing scenery, mosting by building three sided towers--there is a name for these, but it escapes me.  Maybe someone else can provide the name???


The theater scrim people

Posted By: David McCall
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 12:59pm
Previous discussion of Periaktoi -  
The key to making periaktos to line up is to keep the pivot point constant, and precision construction. Ideally you would have a fixed pivot point at the top and the bottom, but one or the other will do.
One way to do the bottom is to make a pad large enough for the periaktoi to rotate on and mount a pipe flange and pipe in the center. Have the pipe extend through a hole in the center of the bottom of the unit.
Another thing that will help in the positioning is to use wheels that do not swivel. There is a real problem with making tight alignment with swivel wheels. you can get around this by only rotating in one direction and being careful to stop at the right position and never having to back up. The only problem with fixed wheels is that you can't roll the units around the stage independently.
A lot of people try to roll periaktoi around the stag and use them in different positions. It is very difficult to make them line up without a fixed pivot.

David M

Posted By: Amos Hart
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 2:44pm
I created these designs on my computer for Wheaton Drama's production of Chicago, which I directed last spring.  Things are shaded blue because the overall set designer was working with an art deco plan involving the colors blue and silver.
The set backgrounds were designed at a length of 24 feet, 10 inches (six 4x8 flats + turning space), then I imposed black lines at four foot intervals to account for the two inch gaps of necessary turning space.   
Chicago - Limbo: -
Limbo is where most of the musical numbers take place.  This is a collage of both Chicago people/places of the 1920s and the real people upon whom Chicago is based.
Chicago - Jail: -
Cook County jail, done from a photograph of some prison in Michigan.
Chicago - Courtroom: -
This would have been the courtroom set, but the cost of having three sets of panels printed was prohibitive and with only two sets, they could be fastened permanently to the panels instead of keeping one set removable.
Set crew: -
The panels were light, so one person could have done it, but for speed's sake, three people (each standing behind a pair of panels) would flip their panels simultaneously.  Instant set change.
How it looked onstage:
Jail: - - -
Limbo: - -
Hope this helps.

Posted By: JoeMc
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 6:03pm
With your flip idea I can't get my noggin around the logistics. I think you will get into more strife than Ginger Meggs, as you would need as much space again to flip up or down.
Check this site out which shows various scene changes using the Periaktoi [I call them 'Medci Flats' cause it's easier to spell} ;- -

a lot of this Greek/Roman theatre scene change machinery was introduced into pohmyland [Britain] in the 1600's by the Welsh architect Inigo Jones  .

This site may give you some other ideas to think about.

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

Posted By: didj1028
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 7:41pm
I think I see where you're going with the flip thing...  it's the lifting it up and locking in at the top part that seems rough...  some sort of counterweight?  Definitely would have to be as light as possible.

Geoff Ehrendreich
Waterloo Community Playhouse
Waterloo IA

Posted By: ange
Date Posted: 2/05/11 at 9:33pm
I originally though about the panels that turn, but this stage is small in height and depth and the back wall supports the side walls and the dead men pieces are hooked to one 2 x 4 on the back and on the cabinet on the side. Any other hints?

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