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Topic: Best method for a simple appearence.
Message: Posted by: redstreak (Oct 29, 2004 11:30PM)
Hi. I'm a close-up, stand-up (wannabe) performer with a pretty small budget. I want a simple way to make a large box (a tiger cage) appear. I know of a couple ways off of the top of my head, but, since I haven't done a lot of stage, there's probably a better method.

I'll have control over the lighting, so black art is a possibility. I'm open to all suggestions...

- thanks a lot.
Message: Posted by: frenchmagi (Nov 1, 2004 09:13AM)
Two words: Black Hole
Message: Posted by: Osiris (Nov 1, 2004 11:51AM)
Ok... my first question is "Why do you want to produce a Tiger's Cage?" It isn't making sense to me...

The "Tiger" or "Lion's Cage" is a complete piece in and of its own. You roll it out and show it empty, girl enters, you cover and spin... remove the cover and voila! You now have a big kitty!

Of course there is the Ken Whitaker "up-dated" variation to this (based on his popular Gemini Cage) in which the cage vanishes and the cat is seen stretched out on the table top... it's very cool!

If you are working with a nominal budget Black Art of Scrim work is going to be your best bet. You could likewise use a "Fog Fall" e.g. using the old Dry Ice method for creating fog (because the fog produced is heavier and falls in a thicker manner... especially if you add some humidity to the performance area prior to turning it on.) The fog is pumped up into the flies and pass through a disburstment nosel that allows it to spread out five to however many feet you need it to be. So, you make a magical pass in the air and the fog begins to flow, a couple of flash bangs on either side, the fog stops and voila! You have a big cage on stage (of course you've hidden it previously in an appriopriate manner and produce it center or slightly up stage. Your hefty muscle bound dancers pushing it into place under cover of the pretty falling fog.)

You could go the opposite direction using fog spouts and liquid Co2 so as to create a upward motion fog screen. The problem is, with this method you need to have things timed out so that the loading of the cage is exceptionally quick... that's what will see the gag as being "impossible" vs. just plain pretty.

Scrim wise, I'd have a bit foam core or cardboard tent set made (like a circus tent)that lowers into place at or just forward of center stage (the audience sees it lower down so they know nothing is behind it.) You talk about going to the circus as a kid, lights lower and your "dream sequence" begins... using lights behind the set and some scrim material you can have clowns, ponies and your cage materialize as different sequences of your dream... Similarly and without the technical headaches associated with scrim work, you could have two over-sized circus posters that move back and forth over the front opening of your tent and cause things to appear both, in the doorway as well as behind the screens (check out those early Copperfield specials and see how he used the old Screen Pass techniques).

Hope these ideas give you something to work with.