Author Topic: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?  (Read 7249 times)

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loebtmc

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Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« on: Mar 14, 2007, 09:37 pm »
I need some ideas and  help for this.

This is a small production of Mamet's Squirrels, set when the play was written in 1974. One actor has to carry his lunch inside his briefcase, and it (natch) gets bounced around. In that lunch is a small school-size wax carton of milk which, because it gets drunk nitely, needs to be rigged cuz those cartons don't open easily. And he needs the water (or whatever) inside. But if we pre-open it, it spills inside the case.

Because this is 1974 they are reluctant to use a screw-top plastic bottle.

Anyone got anything creative to offer?

(we go into tech next week, so it'd be great to play w options over the next three days)

Thanks

Jessie_K

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 14, 2007, 09:50 pm »
Nothing that you rig will look like he is really opening it for the first time.  Maybe I am way off base here but I got those cartons of milk everyday in kindergarten and managed to open them just fine.

If that doesn't work, I suggest pre-opening it and rigging some soft foam in the lid of the lunch box so that when it closes the milk carton is held firmly in place and closed.

McShell

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 14, 2007, 11:41 pm »
I'm really not familiar with the play, but does it specify it has to be a carton?

Would it be feasable he'd be packing a thermos?


avkid

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 14, 2007, 11:54 pm »
Just build dividers into the lunchbox. You can use cardboard and hot glue if need be.
Pick and fit foam would really be best though.
Philip LaDue
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loebtmc

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #4 on: Mar 15, 2007, 01:41 am »
The director is a mamet purist. The script says lunch BAG, not BOX, so the milk is inside the lunch bag is inside the briefcase rolling around until the character opens it and pulls out the milk. The reason we are using a carton is for the time period, that the most common way he would have brought milk would be in a carton, not in a thermos or bottle with cap or other much easier method of dealing. And the milk gets drunk onstage every nite. AND, if you've ever tried to open one of those things as an adult, esp as a senior (who has to open it) it's trickier than you remember.

I would love to rig something inside the briefcase but the milk has to lay on its side, whatever is  holding it closed gets wet and then, well, we leak.

I would love a pull-top bottle, or a screw-lid, or something I can manipulate, but the director wants this. And our job is to say yes until we can prove it can't be done. So I love all  these suggestions, maybe one of them will spark something that will solve this dilemma before we see audience.

Thank you all - keep sending ideas!

Jessie_K

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #5 on: Mar 15, 2007, 01:49 am »
Can the carton be empty and the actor "act" like he/ she is drinking? 

loebtmc

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #6 on: Mar 15, 2007, 02:04 am »
tried that first - older high-maintenance actor wants his water/milk/whatever to help with the sandwich he has to eat (I think I have convinced him that it doesnt' have to be roast beef, just bread with something like cheese or lettuce between, but we are still working on that) - THAT is a lot easier to deal wtih than the milk, tho.

dallas10086

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #7 on: Mar 15, 2007, 10:44 am »
Sounds like you've exhausted the options. How about giving the actor several of the cartons to take home and 'practise' with?

jwl_868

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #8 on: Mar 15, 2007, 06:30 pm »
Is there any way to arrange props such that the carton that is taken from the briefcase is not the one that is opened, and have an easy to open carton already hidden on the stage, to be exchanged by the actor?  For that matter, could the whole briefcase be swapped out?

Why not compartmentalize the briefcase as suggested so that you can secure the carton, but also use something like a big binder clip to secure it closed.  Open the case and the lid should screen the clip and carton from the audience.



Joe

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #9 on: Mar 15, 2007, 06:50 pm »
funny, we just talked abt binder clips - great idea - we are still bouncing stuff around and figuring out how to compartmentalize and/or swap out the milk carton - I will report on whatever the conclusion ends up just in case someone else ever needs something like that -

thanks - and please keep those ideas coming!

LCook

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #10 on: Mar 16, 2007, 01:05 am »
this is a little more off the wall but--

you could always put a little piece of velcro in between the folds.

or secure the top with a piece of clear tape and have him open it in a way that it wouldn't show

or even get a paper clip thats the same color as the carton. the actor could easily flick it off into the bag as he's taking the carton out...

let me know what how it goes! good luck!

zayit shachor

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #11 on: Mar 16, 2007, 12:30 pm »
you could always put a little piece of velcro in between the folds.

Can you imagine the actor opening the carton, accompanied by that sound of pulling velcro apart? ...hehehe.

I think the paper clip idea is a really good one, though.

What about double-sided tape - assuming they make double-sided tape strong enough to actually hold it closed - holding the carton closed from the inside (on the top part)? Then the actor could kind of peel it open.
« Last Edit: Mar 16, 2007, 12:35 pm by zayit shachor »

loebtmc

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #12 on: Mar 16, 2007, 01:09 pm »
Thanks for all the great ideas - we tried double-sided tape and velcro before I hit the thread, and the minute it turns, the carton leaks (mind you, we did try it over a sink, not in the briefcase)

the paper or binder clip sounds great, and our alternative is the young actor finding a way to open it for him. Which is an ideal solution as far as I am concerned (lo-tech rules!)

the reasons we were pre-opening included the difficulty in opening, but also the actor doing the drinking NEEDS to have skim milk and it's actually quite a challenge to find the cartons in skim (rather than reduced fat or whole) so we had hoped to have a regular carton with the fluid replaced with skim (or, better, water)

but for the meantime, hopefully we are solved


kjdiehl

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #13 on: Apr 05, 2007, 12:06 pm »
MAN! You've got an awful lot of people there who "NEED" this prop to be a certain way, when what it sounds to me is that the only thing you "NEED" is for them to all TAKE A CHILL PILL! Sounds like an awful lot of needy pains in the buttinskys making your life harder needlessly.

Anyway, my suggestion, (if the aforementioned Pill of Chilling doesn't seem to work on them,) is to use a blade to ALMOST pre-open the milk carton, so that it remains originally sealed but is still very easy for the actor to open. Of course, this means you've got to find those mini cartons of skim milk, or tell the actor to SUCK IT UP and, god forbid, ACT like he's drinking, but maybe, and I know this is a ccccrrrrrrrAZY idea, but maybe he could actually only pretend to drink it if he's so upset about needing Skim milk. If he was lactose-intolerant, then I'd understand, but Skim is just being annoyingly picky. Yeah, it's a perfectly reasonable request for an actor to make, and I think we should be able to provide it for him, but if it is as difficult to find mini-cartons of milk as you say, then compromises have to be made somewhere and it always bugs me that everyone always assumes it's stage management who has to make all the compromises. Why can't some of the other staff be ready and willing to compromise as well. Grrrr.... Sorry, you got my dander up there. Good topic! :)
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loebtmc

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Re: Anyone have to pre-rig milk cartons?
« Reply #14 on: Apr 05, 2007, 12:46 pm »
Let's just say this is a high-maintenance actor.....one whose requests we have to at least attempt to fulfill.

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