Monday, November 1, 2010

cuckoo clocks

It's funny how the same props seem to show up in multiple shows at the same time. I just did two shows that had large amounts of sand onstage. I hadn't used old wooden crates in months and now I have three shows at once that need them. And now I needed two cuckoo clocks for two shows with the same director. 

The clocks are completely different of course. The first clock is for the Wizard of Oz. It is supposed to be balanced on the headboard of Dorothy's bed and then it falls and hits her to knock her out during the tornado. 
We of course couldn't use a real cuckoo clock, if we really knocked Dorothy out it would be a short show. The director asked if I could build a clock out of foam. 
I bought some foamies from the craft store and set to building. I used this as my research image.

I used 1/4" thick foam for the base frame of the house.

I used 1/8" foam for everything else (it comes in many more color options)
Everything was attached with hot glue.
And then I coated the entire piece with some watered down elmers glue, tinted with a little bit of brown paint.
And glue in a Styrofoam birdie to top it all off.

The second clock I needed was for It's a Wonderful Life- The Radio Play. I rented a clock from an antique store and the man there carefully wrapped the clock in layers of newspaper and bubble wrap. Unfortunaely neither he or I knew how a cuckoo clock should be packed and when I went to take the clock out I discovered that the chains had come off of the cogs on the inside of the clock and the stress of sitting on it's back had ripped the fragile paper of the bellows (the little paper accordion-type things that push the air through the whistles and makes the cuckoo sound)
I had the luckiest night ever though. I looked up clock repair on google maps. I found the phone number of a repairman about 5 miles away. I called and he told me to come right over. I got to his house at 6pm, he reattached the chains, replaced the bellows, and oiled and tightened everything. I picked the clock back up at 10 pm and he charged me the cost of parts and a pair of tickets to the show. 
The clock looks beautiful, and it sounds fantastic!

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