Author Topic: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?  (Read 4432 times)

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jman255

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I am currently stage managing Fifty Words by Michael Weller and there is an intense part in the show where the female character hurls objects from the refrigerator at the male actor. One of these objects is a glass jar that is supposed to break. To top it all off, she has to "step" on the glass and cut her foot.

Let me establish a few things:

Firstly, it is a store front theater, so it is very small and intimate. The 50-seat audience is on both sides of the stage (the first row is actually on stage), and the stage is small....

Secondly, we have like 15 performances, so we would like to avoid using the expensive sugar glass.

Finally, we want this to be safe (lol) for the actors on stage because it is not swept up for about 10 minutes.

I have searched the forums for old topics, and none of the information I read fully helps out my situation. We will buy sugar glass jars if we can't think of anything else, but we don't want to have to spend all that money! I did read that if you use glue on both sides of the glass it can help prevent shattering? Does anyone know how well this works? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Jordan

maximillionx

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 28, 2011, 02:57 pm »
All audience safety issues aside....

Does it specify glass jar? Could you use a hard plastic cup or jar? Or some other type of hard, non-glass material?

iamchristuffin

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 28, 2011, 03:43 pm »
In case sugar glass is safe enough (I've never had someone walk over it - the director always left an area to throw it free), maximillionx has put a make-your-own sugar glass recipe here.....http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,4033.msg24553.html#msg24553

Chris

loebtmc

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 28, 2011, 03:44 pm »
Breakaway glass is expensive and sharp, but far less dangerous than real glass.

I have had to break glass and plates onstage in small houses on a couple of occasions. I highly recommend thick glass/ceramic and pre-scoring whatever is to break. Ideally, it breaks along scored lines and you can glue it back together each nite, so it continues to break in the same place over and over again. You will need tons of back-up but we had plates and a few jars done this way last a week of shows. And we had enough to replace nightly if it didn't break cleanly. IMPORTANT: Make sure the toss is way upstage - I did a play in an 80 seat house which had a gunshot "breaking" a prescored bottle sitting on a rigged spot about 4 feet from the downstage lip. One night a piece exploded into the house - a direction it had never gone after over 100 tries over performances and rehearsals. Anything is possible, and you certainly don't want to kill your audience members!

babens

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 28, 2011, 04:41 pm »
I can't speak for sugar glass, but I personally have walked in my bare feet over the commercially available acrylic breakaways, which have all but replaced sugar glass, with no problems.  This was for a production of Streetcar and I volunteered to be the guinea pig as to whether it would be a problem to have Blanche walking around in bare feet after the "twist this bottle in your face" scene.  While I won't say it is 100% safe (there is always going to be that freak chance) I did everything I could including stomping and shuffling through it (yes, I was very reckless when I was young).

RubCar91

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 07:22 am »
I actually just worked on a production of this exact play this past summer! I don't remember the script saying it had to be a glass jar though. I specifically remember the actress throwing a wine glass. The stage manager bought a bunch of very cheap wine glasses, and then the technical director used a glass cutter to score the bowl of the glass. If I remember correctly, he only scored it four times, so that when the glass was thrown it would break into four pieces. It worked like a charm every time. Here's a pretty helpful video I found on how to cut glass:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6jyP0_nEoM

If you don't have a glass cutter readily available, you can get one for a few bucks from almost any hardware store. I know that Home Depot sells them for a few bucks. Hope this helps!

jman255

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 08:09 pm »
Did you do anything else to the wine glasses to make sure they didn't shatter? Throwing a wine glass, even with scored glass, seems like it would shatter about.

I think we are going to buy some acrylic type break away glass and then spray it with some mosaic glue to keep the flying shards to a minimum. We are waiting on the samples to come in, so I will keep yall updated on the outcome.

RubCar91

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 12:51 am »
From what I remember all we did was score the glass. The glass would break into large pieces that were easy to sweep up later on when the actor pulled out the broom. It's worth a try maybe. But definitely let me know how your idea works out though!

loebtmc

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 02:28 am »
 - same here. We used thicker glass, but we only scored it. Some kind of over-glaze might help the shatter aspect, but it also might impede your actor's ability to break it in the first place.

jman255

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Re: PROPS: Is there really an easy way to break glass on stage?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 12:59 pm »
We finally tested the "acrylic" breakaway jar, and it works like a charm! We can step in it without hurting ourselves, it breaks VERY easily, and it gives a nice sound effect when it shatters. Hopefully our actress can continue with her good aim (she throws them in a fit of rage - no better time to throw refrigerated items...) in order to keep the audience members sitting on the floor as calm as possible. I will find out the company we ordered them from today and get back to y'all. We have $600 worth of jars on their way here. The product is legit; the price tag is not!

-Jordan

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