Monday, August 04, 2008

Puppet Stage 3.0

Puppet Stage 3

We tried a PVC stage and a wood frame stage but we needed something better. As we designed our next stage, we addressed the short comings of our previous stages. The new stage would have to be sturdy, light weight, easy to set up, and take up less space.

The stage that came next was pretty good, and it lasted a long time. The whole thing was built on a hinged 2X4 frame that sat on the ground. The vertical poles were made from PVC (keeping in mind our first PVC stage, these poles were connected together with a bungy cord, like a tent pole). The play board and back support were made from wooden curtain rods, so they wouldn’t sag like PVC. The rods were connected with a PVC joint. The sides were made from metal electrical conduit - sturdy, but heavy.

This stage worked nicely, but after a couple of years, it began to break down. The real weakness was the wooden base. Eventually, the large wooden pegs that secured the vertical PVC poles began to break, the hinges on the wooden base came unscrewed, and the front and side 2X4s were no longer sitting squarely on the ground. The stage became very wobbly, and unstable.

The final blow for one stage came during our extended run at the Los Angles Zoo. Anita and a member of the zoo staff attempted to move the stage for a special event, and the whole base twisted and broke. We managed to tape it up for the rest of the run, but it forever lilted to one side. It was time for another puppet stage.


erik kuska said...

great timing for your blogs on stages.. Im building my first right now out of pvc piping. I was worried about that 'playbeam' and 'backbeam' sagging, and using a wooden closet rod sound like a great idea..

How about your curtains? Ive got a lot of black fabric and a box of velcro tape. I plan to just sew one side to the fabric and stick the other side to the pvc pipe. is that what you guys did?
thanks, and great site!


Sean Johnson said...

Yes. Our curtains are opaque black fabric with velcro attached. We then put velcro on the stage pieces. The black curtain is one single piece, it wraps around the back and both sides.

Anita said...

Ah, yes! This stage brings back fond memories! I am so thrilled to be able to say I broke it! Patrick and I also nailed a stage at a San Leandro show. It was particularly windy that day, and once we set up the back curtain but, before we'd anchored the sides, the wind caught it and I heard a sickening crack! Was it the same stage? Wow. I broke that baby twice!

Not to mention the hauling of the various pieces...have I mentioned yet how much I love our current set up? 'Cause I DO!

Sean Johnson said...

I'm glad I could bring back fond memories...