Well, here we are again at the Techie’s Corner. This month, we will wind up our section on methods of creating fake fire for the stage with a brief discussion on torches, candles and lanterns.

Torches have been around, well, forever. In fact torches have been around longer than we have. Somewhere in the far distant past, one of our proto human ancestors picked up a burning branch from a wildfire and lit his way down the dark path to the future. The basic torch has changed very little since then.  However, man, never satisfied with the basic model of anything, tried many variations and “improvements” along the way.

The first improvement was probably when some one discovered that a large pine knot full of hardened sap would burn longer than a plain branch.  After that it would have been an easy step to experiment with other methods of making torches last longer.  One early method was to wrap the head of the torch in a loose weave of plant fibers and then soak that in animal fat.

Water can be a great tool to add realism to the stage. We will be adding more water effects as they become available. We are thankful to Michael Powers for several articles on the wet stuff. Click on the links to the left and see how to stay dry.


Techie's Corner As a continuation of last month’s column about "Rain On Stage", this month’s column will focus on water on stage. Specifically, water in sinks. Next month, I will wind up this topic with a discussion of other types of water such as hand pumps, fountains, waterfalls, pools, etc. The basics for water in sinks are the same 6 major areas of consideration as for rain. Supply, storage, delivery, recovery, control, and water quality. For an in depth definition and explanation of these six areas, check out last month’s column under TRE back issues, December ‘98. 

Plain old Elmer's Wood Glue. Lots of it... t1.jpg

Here's a mix-n-match set of platform methods. The open framed part is called a parallel.



The platforms on the top are comprised of a basic 4x8 and a 4x4 platform framed using 1x6 lumber. The bottom platforms are only slightly different as they are framed with 2x6 lumber. These bottom platforms also have casters attached.


Remember the question that was asked during class. How do we make this 4'x4' platform rotate? It is sitting on top of the two 4'x8' platforms that do not provide a solid, complete surface.bdnplat.jpg





Turn tables have been used in theater for a very long time. They allow for quick scene changes. They can be effective in adding movement to the show. On Broadway, a great example of turn table use is in the musical, Les Mis. They use the table to allow the actor to walk, but stay in one place.

The most interesting turn table I've worked on is the one built into the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The turntable is built across three elevators. All three elevators must be at the same level.

A turntable is simple to make and to operate. It can be any size and shape. Round is the most popular. The one on this page is 4 feet square. You can also take a look at a turntable during the building process...


Special Effects for the stage is a wide ranging area of stage magic. Making a light flash, and door swing open on its own, making "fire" on stage could all be considered special effects. Several articles here may also belong to other categories. Such as electrics, rigging, sound, etc...

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.

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