Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"That is a Mountain"

For a "Theatre for Young Audiences" (TYA) show I'm working on, I had to turn this ladder into a mountain. It had to be easily climbable and easily movable for a very quick scene.
The ladder was already nicely mounted on this wheeled platform from an earlier production of Suessical.
I cut up some hula hoops to help round out the bottom (I couldn't go as round as I wanted becuase it still had to fit down the aisles), and screwed them in on each end.
I then took a large piece of stretch lycra fabric and draped it over the entire piece.
I stapled it into the ladder where I could and stitched it around the hula hoop.
Stretched tight the fabric kept pulling the center of the hula hoops up, so I ended up adding a strip of wood across the center, screwed into both hula hoops and the platform.

In order to make the mountain safe to climb I stapled the fabric back to create a foot hold on every other step, so that actor wold have a safe place to set his foot without the danger of getting caught up in the fabric.

To help round out the shape and disguise the form of the ladder a little bit better I went inside the mountain and added in the cut off pieces of the hula hoops so that the surface became a little less smooth. 

I also took a hand sewing needle and started gathering and pulling the stretch fabric to create even more texture.

After paint the mountain was looking decent, but was looking a little cartoony. I decided that the moment was so short, and the mountain so laughably small that I couldn't fight the rediculousness. Instead I embraced it, bought a yard of white crushed velvet, and gave the mountain a little snow cap.

Not a very complicated piece, but fun all the same, and I think this stretch lycra idea is going to come in handy in the future.

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