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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Platforms
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Platforms are weight-bearing scenic structures that are used as acting space. Platforms can be used at varying heights, often several feet off of the ground. Platforms can be commercially purchased or built out of lumber. Commercial platforms tend to be bulky, noisy when walked upon, and generally can't be painted, thus the tendency to use wooden platforms.

A typical platform is constructed out of two by six inch lumber frame and covered with 3/4 inch plywood. This construction makes platforms sturdy, and often quite heavy if they are large. Legs can be attached to platforms, usually by the use of large screws. Figure 3.2 shows the construction of a typical platform.

Frequently, four by four inch material is used for platform legs, due to its strength and available area for attaching to the platform, Legs made of four by four lumber need cross-bracing if they are over three feet tall. This bracing can generally be made out of scrap lumber.

Often a stock of legs with standard heights are kept in a theatre's scene shop. Stock of several legs ranging from one to four feet in one foot increments is not at all uncommon, and is what the WPI scene shop stocks. Often times custom heights need to be cut from fresh stock, but generally most work can be done with the supply of standard legs.

Special care must be taken when extremely high platforms are used. The platforms must be adequately braced and supported such that there is no chance of a collapse. Railings should be used on high platforms wherever possible to minimize the chances of an actor falling off of one. For platforms over eight feet tall, four by four material for the legs is mandatory. The platform and legs should be attached to the wall and floor of the stage if possible. Some stages have strips of lumber attached to the upstage wall for the specific purpose of tying set pieces in. However, this is not always possible, especially in cases where a cyclorama or other soft good is flown behind the set. In cases like this, using aircraft cable to attach the platforms to the gridiron is a possible solution. The rigging chapter in this book provides more information relative to this topic.

Figure 3.2: Construction of a typical platform. 2 inch lumber is used for the frame and 3/4 inch plywood is used for the top surface.

next up previous contents index
Next: Flats Up: Set Pieces Previous: Set Pieces   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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