Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dancing Lamp

The exciting and challenging thing about "Goodnight Moon" is that the whole room comes to life. For me that meant that there are almost no simple props. Everything becomes a puppet on some level. 
This first puppet is the table lamp. 
For the base of the lamp I used a round globe lamp I found at Ikea. I removed the electric that were pre-attached and turned it upside down. 
I cut 2 circles of plywood to anchor the ends of the neck of the lamp. In between I attached a spring (mostly with epoxy putty), that could bend to make the lamp dance. 
I attached strings to the edges of the top plywood circle, ran them through holes in the bottom circle and out the bottom of the lamp. Once the lamp is installed onstage I will run the same strings through holes in the table, around pulleys and off-stage where they can be operated by one of the actors unseen. 
 To give the lamp a more solid base I cut a circle of foam core with a slit to fit the cable. Once I am installing the piece onstage, this will be covered in the same blue fabric as the rest of the lamp.
 Once the tipping mechanism was functioning, I needed to make the shell of the lamp. I used a stretch dance fabric so that I could get a smooth, wrinkle-free line while still getting the flexibility I needed.
I made the cover much the same way you would make a slip cover for a couch. I wrapped the fabric around the lamp base and then began pinning the excess fabric until it fit tightly. When I removed the fabric the pins gave me an exact pattern for where I needed to sew darts to make a perfect fit.
 I trimmed away all the excess fabric and turned the sleeve right-side-out.
 Then all I needed to do was pull the sleeve back over my lamp and hot glue it in place.
 I purchased a lampshade that is held in place by the lightbulb so that I didn't need any extra hardware for that.
Finally I painted the lampshade yellow and added some rick-rack around the edges so that I could get a perfect match to the lamp in the book.
Unfortunately the first time they tried to use the lamp in rehearsal, the line I was using for the pull strings broke. When I brought the lamp home to finish rigging I replaced the strings with thick wire.
finally I ran the pull wires, and the electrical cable through a piece of foam wrapped in my blue fabric, and through holes I had drilled in my table. From here I will run lines through pulley and screw eyes, once we load the piece onstage, to where ever they need to be backstage.

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