Author Topic: PROPS: "Lighting" Cigarettes?  (Read 6156 times)

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zayit shachor

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PROPS: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« on: Jan 17, 2008, 10:26 pm »
I'm getting started on a production of Blue/Orange, a show which includes several instances of characters lighting cigarettes onstage.  We already know that we can't use any kind of fire onstage.  Can anyone suggest a way to simulate lighting a cigarette in a way that still looks realistic?

The show is in a very small theater (50 seats).

Thanks!
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:44 am by PSMKay »

avkid

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 18, 2008, 12:24 am »
Everyone recognizes the "click" of a Zippo light, from old movies at the very least.
Have the actors cup their hand around it, just as they would tend to do on a rainy day.
Philip LaDue
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ScooterSM

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 18, 2008, 01:48 pm »
You can also use a Zippo lighter that does not have any fluid, but does have a flint.  What happens is the flint strikes so you get a bit of a spark, but there is nothing that can light so that is all you get.  This combined with the fake cigarettes that puff "smoke" when you blow on them works pretty well.  (Just FYI, the puffy cigarettes are fairly expensive, but for fakes they don't look too bad, so it might be worth the investment).
I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful. Tony Church

avkid

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 18, 2008, 02:01 pm »
You can also use a Zippo lighter that does not have any fluid, but does have a flint.
Yeah, they come without fluid in them. Regular chrome Zippos can be had for about $10 if you know where to look.
http://www.lightersales.com/index.cfm/catalog/view-product.cfm?id=1310
Don't worry about the price, they will outlast us all.
I inherited one from my grandfather.
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lilmonki in black

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 21, 2008, 02:15 am »
Kind of off topic... The 'puffy' cigarettes and cigars are refillable... :)  We used them for a production of 'almost perfect', and just pulled the cotton out of the end and put a tad bit of baby powder or powdered sugar in it.  (I don't remember which.  That was years ago...)
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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 21, 2008, 02:23 pm »
Kind of off topic... The 'puffy' cigarettes and cigars are refillable... :)  We used them for a production of 'almost perfect', and just pulled the cotton out of the end and put a tad bit of baby powder or powdered sugar in it.  (I don't remember which.  That was years ago...)

I've used corn starch.  Eventually they get too clogged to reuse, but it does extend the life of the fake cigs.

chops

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 21, 2008, 07:17 pm »
If someone already has a Zippo you can always take the wick out of it and the cotton batting out of the inside.  This will insure that a used Zippo does not ignite. 
Peace,

Chops

KMC

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 21, 2008, 07:56 pm »
There has been a lot of talk about zippos here.  While this is certainly an excellent solution in terms of practicality, does it fit the character?  If not what are some other solutions to light a fake cigarette?
Get action. Do things; be sane; dont fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

avkid

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 21, 2008, 10:11 pm »
There has been a lot of talk about zippos here.  While this is certainly an excellent solution in terms of practicality, does it fit the character?
I did my research.
A Zippo is perfectly reasonable in 20th century Britain.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

zayit shachor

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 22, 2008, 12:39 am »
An empty Zippo will work great for our production, but I'm interested to see what other ideas there are out there, just for general knowledge (I think that's what kmc was asking about).

Deirdre Benson

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 22, 2008, 04:21 pm »
Well, I've done Blue/Orange (love that script, btw!) and we cheated and had the actor light-up very briefly and then had another character stub it right out.  We also kept it to just the one (I can't remember off-hand if the script calls for more).

We used these:
newbielink:http://www.costumesinc.com/p7786/product.html [nonactive] (Although I got a box of 500)

with unloaded Zippos, for a production last spring and they looked decent. (This was in a 90 seat Black Box, so similar distance issues)

ScooterSM

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Re: "Lighting" Cigarettes?
« Reply #11 on: Jan 23, 2008, 04:27 pm »
Well, I've done Blue/Orange (love that script, btw!) and we cheated and had the actor light-up very briefly and then had another character stub it right out.  We also kept it to just the one (I can't remember off-hand if the script calls for more).


Depending on where you are located, this could still be a violation of the fire code.  Some cities/states say absolutely no fire/incendiary devices at all without proper permits and fire marshals on site (this is particularly true on the east coast of the US because of the night club fire). 

If you live some where that the fire codes are not as strict, you could do this, or light a match, pretend to light the cigarette, and then drop the match in a glass of water.  Other ideas include using a regular disposible lighter with no fluid, using the strike on box only matches and then "strike" them on anything else (table, other side of match book, etc) so you have the motion of lighting it but no actual flame.  Along those same lines you can take a book of matches, cut the heads off, and just have the motion of striking the match on the book with nothing to ignite.  I have also seen once some clever slight of hand using a very small orange, battery LED light that looked like a lighter that the actor palmed and turned on while cupping his hand around the cigarette and then turned off as he removed his hand.
Just my opinion, but I feel like most audiences now will go along with what you commit to, meaning that if your actors commit to looking like they are lighting a cigarette, and they have a fake puffy cigarette, the audience with take the journey with them and not question where the fire came from.  Also, in that small of a space, more people would be distracted by actual smoking than will be distracted by the lack of real flame.

 :)SSM
I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful. Tony Church

 

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