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Riding a bicicle on stage with Scenery passing!


Broomy

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Hi there.

 

I am producing a short performance for an amatur group, which contains a substantial amount of cycling on stage.

 

The idea is to mount the bicycle on a frame so it stays fixed to the spot, but as the rider is cycling, the senery behind them scrolls past. This will hopefully give the illusion that they are actually moving.

 

Ive searched the net a little, tring to find links for walking, running, moving cars, boats, plans, trains ect on stage to get some ideas, but I dont seem to be getting to far!!!

 

I have a rough idea in my mind of how to do it, but wondered if anyone else has tryed it before, or seen it done? Has anyone got ideas about mounting scenery on wheels, or tracks so it can be pulled across from wing to wing?

 

Any ideas, suggestrions or pointers will be gratefully recieved!

 

Cheers

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Personally, I'd be looking at Projection...

 

Yeah, I have got that in the back of my mind too, but really want to have the visual effect of props and scenery passing.

 

Forgot to mention that it is for a competition, and that we will get points for our handiwork!

 

Cheers

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A very long painted backcloth scrolled horizontally across the stage?

 

For scenery or props, if they are large (tree) you could have technicians all dressed in black walk them across?

Or small- have a 2 foot high fence that the tech's crawl behind, and the props are on poles?

 

Or you could light the backcloth in UV and have UV reactive paint on the backcloth and UV props- and again techs dressed in black.

 

Or the cycle could be on a 1.2m riser which makes it much easier to move props behind as no crawling required.

 

Is this intended to be for comic effect or serious?

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There's a scene in Singin' in the Rain where Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor are walking through the studio and they walk past a set where exactly this is happening. I think I'd be looking at painting the backdrop on a very wide piece of lightweight cloth and rigging it like a film projector - roll off one side and roll onto the other, probably onto pieces of pipe mounted vertically in the wings. You'd have to be ingenious with the drive mechanism (I'd want it rigged so a stagehand could turn a handle and it would pull the drop across) and the trick would be keeping the tension on the drop vertically. Chain in the bottom of the drop should hold it fairly well, but you'd need to have the top of the drop held up somehow to stop it sagging. There might be some way of using a piece of tab track but the trick would be getting the runners onto the track if the drop was rolled up on a pipe; if it wasn't moving too quickly you could just have a stagehand up a ladder feeding the runners in as the drop moves across - they'll come off the track by themselves as the drop reaches the other wing.
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Why not think differently and shrink the whole scene down to a small bike and use puppetry to convey what you need.

 

this could be a thin cloth road that the puppet cyclist rides upon. with small model scenery passing by. You could then use actors and crew to achieve this and have fun with it. Altering the perspective and angle of the road etc to include hills etc. this way you could introduce some humour into it. such as creating a steep hill where the bike has several attempts at it etc.

 

I have seen something similar done with shadow puppetry and it really adds a different dimension to the show.

 

hope this helps

 

if you need any help at all give us a shout

 

james

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A very long painted backcloth scrolled horizontally across the stage?

 

For scenery or props, if they are large (tree) you could have technicians all dressed in black walk them across?

Or small- have a 2 foot high fence that the tech's crawl behind, and the props are on poles?

 

Or you could light the backcloth in UV and have UV reactive paint on the backcloth and UV props- and again techs dressed in black.

 

Or the cycle could be on a 1.2m riser which makes it much easier to move props behind as no crawling required.

 

Is this intended to be for comic effect or serious?

 

Hi there.

 

Thanks for your great ideas.

 

It does not need to be serious. Cycling is the theme of the play, and it can (and probably will be) comic.

 

Cheers

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Thinking about the bike, rather than the scenery for a second - firstly, don't underestimate just how solid a frame you'll need to make in order to stop the bike rocking from side to side while it's being pedalled.

 

Also, unless you've got some sort of resistance to pedal against, it's very easy to spin-out, which'll make it very difficult to keep up a steady cadence on the pedals, and possibly look weird and/or wobbly.

 

You could solve both problems with something like a turbo-trainer, which is a device that fits to the back axle of the bike and provides resistance and stability - at lowish speeds, it shouldn't be a problem to use one - if your rider is really going for it, then they can create a bit of a racket!

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+1 for a turbo-trainer, a fine piece of gym equipment if I may say so. This might be a better option, saving you all the hassle attached to a gaudy metal frame that rickets, and pickets, and altogether collapses on the odd occasion. That said, the turbo-trainer isn't an inexpensive item. Tread carefully.
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