Page references are to:
J. M. Gillette, Theatrical Design and Production (3rd ed), Mayfield, 1997.
Types of weight-bearing 3-dimensional structures:
- Platforms and levels
- Scenic properties which support actors (p. 240)
- Step units & ladders
- Demands of action and scene changes (strength and versatility)
- Demands of design (appearance)
- Availability of stock (convenience)
- Expense of new construction and potential for re-use (cost)
Types of stock units:
- Framed platform
- Highly durable and strong
- Adapts to many different design needs
- Simple construction
- Convenient storage
- Represents a level or wagon without legs or casters, complete and prepared
- Awkward and inconvenient to travel (although they are used)
- Not rapidly set up
- Parallel platform (p. 227)
- Solid and strong when properly constructed and assembled
- Light weight and easily toured
- Quickly set up and disassembled
- Limited adaptability for design purposes
- Complicated construction
- Storage advantage is marginal
- Durability is limited
- Not easily covered or padded
- square steel tubing (p. 222-223)
- stressed skin (alternate framing methods)
Note: support depends on surface materials; typically
support each 10-12 square feet (4x8=32 sq ft)
- 5/8" ply - or other as locally specified
- Homosote, carpet, and other sound deadening
- Masonite, or other working surface
- Spot legs: 2x4, box-corner, steel (p. 224)
- Stud walls
Note: close attention is required to supporting the load-bearing structure of the units (legs supporting framing and section breaks in the assembled unit)
Connecting platforms (p. 229-230):
- Casket locks
- Facing strips
Step Units (pp. 230-232):
-Dependent and independent types. Mostly stored as dependent.
- open carriage
- continuous carriage
- ship’s ladder
- special constructions
-Most frequently constructed to stock dimensions for stock use.
-Typically, Rise = 8", Tread = 11-12", usually 1" lip around.
-Maximum 9" rise, minimum 9" tread – usually for escapes.
Notes on Scenic Constructions:
- Determine specifically how scenery is to be used, including live load, access, and action upon it.
- Construct to support 3 to 5 times the live load demand.
- Use stock components wherever possible.
- Delineate without question where the performers may put weight and where they may not. Help actors using the piece to understand how it was constructed so they may use it safely and properly.
- If compromises must be made, sacrifice or adapt design for safety.
- Provide necessary handrails, etc., and be sure performers know which are functional and which are not.
All original content protected by copyright © Arthur L. Dirks, Taunton, MA., 2005.