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Messages - jwl_868

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Tools of the Trade / Re: paint
« on: May 13, 2009, 02:22 pm »
What kind of wall and what type of finish is on the wall?  For example, a smooth dry wall painted with a glossy "washable" paint might be what you need to start with.  But if the wall is has a rough finish, like brick or concrete block, it may be impossible to clean, even if finished.  There are some interior paints that are marketed as washable, like for children's rooms.  I've heard of "graffiti-resistant" paints (or coatings) that resist the adherence of paint as long as one starts washing them quickly. 

Is repainting the surface an option?


Please excuse my inexperience, but there is something about “fire” and “theater” that just doesn’t seem to mix.  I personally don’t think an open fire in any building can be considered safe (even kitchens can have problems).

You state that you have a good relationship with the fire marshal – ask him/her first if you can do this.  Good relationship notwithstanding, the fire marshal is bound by codes and laws.  Your good relationship, no doubt, is based on his enforcement of the codes and laws and your past co-operation.

While one could keep a real fire confined to a can, the control of embers floating out and up is a major hazard.


I would considering including:

Stay out of the control booth.

Don't touch the fly rail.

Don't climb up to the grid.

Heed any warnings from the stage crew.


Tools of the Trade / Re: Luminescent Liquid Effect
« on: Apr 07, 2008, 04:41 pm »
Be careful with hydrogen peroxide.  It is available in several dilutions.  The drugstore version is 3%.  The beautician’s version is 6%.  Then, with industrial grades, at concentrations greater than 8%, one has an NFPA Class 1 oxidizer and then Class 2 at 27.5%.  (That is, the concentration is greater than 8%, you must meet NFPA standards to store it.)  Merely identifying the chemical is not enough in this case, the concentration is crucial for safety.

No doubt the 3% solution is what is most readily available to you.  Go to a drug store and read the cautionary label.  Or go online and search for “hydrogen peroxide MSDS 3%”.   

The chemistry of the glow sticks doesn’t give the hydrogen peroxide concentration.  Maybe its less than 8% (at least one glowstick vendor implies a 3% solution); maybe its higher.  The glow effect may be influenced by the hydrogen peroxide concentration.  How viscous is the second liquid (the oxalate ester) – just about any liquid can be mixed in a thin, flexible tube, but just pouring to fluids into a bowl won’t guarantee mixing.

One way to answer your question about the use of the hydrogen peroxide is: Will the actors on stage use the same protective measures that are recommended by the chemical vendor while they are handling and pouring this chemical?  Will the chemical be controlled offstage as recommended by the chemical vendor – that is, storage, handling by stage crew, etc?  Will there be absolute control over this material? 

What if the actor stumbles?  What if the hydrogen peroxide spills?  What if it splashes?  Will it damage curtains and costumes or sets?  Can one afford this damage either in cost or time to correct it?

How responsible are the cast and crew?  How crowded are things backstage? 

There are a lot of unknowns in this (and many only you know for sure.).  In my own conservative opinion, I don’t think handling an open container of hydrogen peroxide (regardless of the concentration) on a stage is a good idea.  (That’s not to say that there is no way to make it safe, but as presented, thee are too many unknowns.)

(Sorry for the long reply.)


Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Helium Tank Onstage
« on: Jan 30, 2008, 01:34 pm »
Rent the tank, cylinder fitting, gauge, balloon filling nozzle, and safety equipment.  You’ll never use the equipment again.  There are numerous vendors with enough information online so that you can figure out the tank size that you’ll need.

Note that a full cylinder of helium may have a pressure of 1,800 pounds per square inch gauge (psig).  While helium is inert, the cylinder must still be handled with care.  (Arguable, there are potential oxygen-deficiency issues, but helium rises [compared to carbon dioxide] so the risk is much lower in a large room.) You’ll need either a cylinder stand or a way to secure the cylinder upright against a wall.  And you’ll need to store it in a well ventilated room.  You may need a handtruck to move the cylinder around, too.  (If a cylinder falls over and happens to hit something that damages or cuts the nozzle, you’ll have a torpedo careening around the room or across the stage.)

I found this link via the OSHA website as a good example for safe handling of cylinders.

Be aware of the jargon of the gas industry.  A gas salesman saying “Cubic feet” usually means “standard cubic feet” which for all practical purposes refers to the actual volume of the gas in the balloons.  The actual volume of the cylinder will be a small fraction of the “cubic feet” of gas that you will get out of the cylinder.

(The other “hazard” will be those who will suck out the contents of a balloon to make their voices high pitched and squeaky…)


Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Budget?!
« on: Dec 10, 2007, 01:44 pm »
If you have to move all of the sets and scenery out of the venue when you're done (or for that matter, if you are bringing in alot from off-site), you may need to set aside some money to rent and fuel a truck.


Not exactly questions but:

stage dimensions
stage depth in front of main curtain
stage depth behind main curtain
proscenium height
clearance of lights
what battens can be flown
any dead-hung battens
intermediate curtains
locations of battens
loading dock, doorway size


Stage Management: Other / Re: Outdoor opera issues?
« on: Jul 03, 2007, 12:36 pm »
This is more from audience experience, but if the venue is a place that was not originally intended to be a venue, you may want to check for any sources of external noise, random or regular.  For example, railroad engines, firehouses, church bells, sirens, loading docks.  While there isn’t much you can do about the noise, you may want to plan how to react to it – pause, restart, whatever. 


The Green Room / Re: SMs in media?
« on: Jun 25, 2007, 12:54 pm »
Sometime in the opening sequence of the movie Chicago, there is the Stage Manager.

I once searched the imdb (Internet Movie Database) for both "stage manager" and "stagehand" and I was surprised how frequently they show up as minor characters.


Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Is this normal?
« on: May 25, 2007, 12:28 pm »
I can identify with your situation.  I’m a volunteer, I’ve learned stage management from books (and by mistakes), just about everyone involved is a volunteer, and everyone wears several hats.  (Though things are a little easier in my case; it’s a dance studio with one recital and one full ballet each year.)  But much of the work comes down to lists and staying organized.  I also think your work will become much easier once you find out who you can count on and who you can’t. 


Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Stage Management Guide
« on: May 11, 2007, 12:40 pm »
Looks good.

You may want to consider putting Safety in a chapter of its own; the topic covers many things other than "Rehearsal".


Please excuse this diversion from the topic but:

 ??? A jump from 16 feet!   ??? Demonstrating a “trick” on scaffolding?    ??? Such disregard for basic safety is not what a stage manager should be conveying.  The message should have been “this is how you climb up and this is how to climb down.”  (1/4 of work place fatalities [excluding transportation and violence] are from falls.)


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.


Stage Management: Other / Re: Talent Show Tips please?
« on: Mar 09, 2007, 12:32 pm »
Maybe you’ve considered this, but:

If any acts are using recorded music, make sure that the recordings they bring work on your equipment, before the show even starts.  (is there a rehearsal?, or some specification on the music?)  (Seems to be a less common problem than a few years ago, but if someone is using a cassette and all there is is a CD player....  On the other hand, I recently saw a cheerleading squad get “burned” trying to use a recording at their own home gym!  Their CD did not work with the gym's CD equipment.)

Minimize the time between acts (okay, that’s a pet peeve for me), but an extra minute between each act can really add up.  But if there is judging for the talent show, there will need to be some “ready” signal that the judges can give to you (or the emcee).

You’ll probably need someone backstage to make sure each act is prepared to go as scheduled (as they say in baseball, “on-deck” and “in the hole”.)


Tools of the Trade / Re: New Tallescope ruling in UK
« on: Mar 05, 2007, 01:02 pm »
Genie makes a variety of lifts – scissors lifts, boom lifts, elevated work platforms – so use the term “Genie lift” cautiously.  The “Genie” at one facility may not be the type of “Genie” at another facility.

US OSHA rules (29 Code of Federal Regulations) can be somewhat confusing for this general equipment primarily because scissors lifts fall under the “scaffolding” regulations, but all of the other lifts fall under the “aerial lift” regulations.  The most significant difference as I understand it is that a scissors lift with proper railings is considered to meet the fall protection standard and tieing-off or providing personal fall protection is not necessary.  All of the other lifts require some sort of tieing off.  (Ladders are under a separate set of rules.) 

For all practical purposes, if the lift is occupied and extended, it must not be moved.  (There is a very narrow range of exceptions.)  An occupied ladder must not be moved.

It appears that a tallescope used in the US, with its extending boom, is under the US OSHA aerial lift regulations, and therefore, cannot be moved if it is occupied.
From 29 CFR 1926:
1926.452(w) [Mobile scaffolds] (6)
Employees shall not be allowed to ride on scaffolds unless the following conditions exist:
1926.452(w)(6)(i) The surface on which the scaffold is being moved is within 3 degrees of level, and free of pits, holes, and obstructions;
1926.452(w)(6)(ii) The height to base width ratio of the scaffold during movement is two to one or less, unless the scaffold is designed and constructed to meet or exceed nationally recognized stability test requirements such as those listed in paragraph (x) of Appendix A to this subpart (ANSI/SIA A92.5 and A92.6);
1926.452(w)(6)(iii) Outrigger frames, when used, are installed on both sides of the scaffold;
1926.452(w)(6)(iv) When power systems are used, the propelling force is applied directly to the wheels, and does not produce a speed in excess of 1 foot per second (.3 mps); and
1926.452(w)(6)(v) No employee is on any part of the scaffold which extends outward beyond the wheels, casters, or other supports.

1926.1053   Ladders.
(b)[Use]…(11) Ladders shall not be moved, shifted, or extended while occupied.

Didn’t have a chance to copy the aerial lift regulations on the subject, but that can be readily found at the OSHA site.


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