Jump to content

Flying in chain


Recommended Posts

Sorry!! Was typing and doing six other things!


So we have lengths of chain - approx six mtrs a piece- that the designer wants to hang off one of the lx bridges.


They have to come in as a 'chain curtain' then at the last moment all be release and dropped to the floor at the same time.


The problem is what to attach the chains to- to firstly lower them in and then how to get them to the 'detach' from whatever they were hanging from- so that they all fall onto the stage at the same time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do the chains have to be metal? Or can the designer live with those plastic ones used in ornamental fencing? That would reduce risks significantly and make the job potentially a lot easier.


Anything is doable, including metal chains but if or how it happens depends on expertise and facility. The chains could be tumbled is you don't have full flying height and could even be released via a variant of an old Skool kabuki spiked pole.




For me the most important thing would be that a mechanism and system of work is in place that eliminates the possibility that the chains would be free to drop AT ALL until the moment this is required and the area cleared and checked during the action. I would NOT run with this without such a system, and one that makes it physically impossible for the chains to be free until required and also has neglible room for human error. This system could well be as hard to devise as the drop itself.


Less dangerous prop chains would take you nearer a safe endpoint to start with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw a RSC production of Richard III at the Savoy Theatre in 1999 (Robert Lindsay played Richard) that had a backdrop of chains, that all fell, kabuki-style at the end of the last act. (Spoiler alert, I guess...) Rob Howell designed the set. You can see a few pictures here: http://www.ahds.rhul...ormanceId=11856 I think he actually won an Olivier for it.


Something to research, anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if there metal chains id be looking at electromagnets


Umm... All very well until a breaker trips unexpectedly. If they have any significant mass they need to be held in position by a failsafe mechanism and positively released rather than the converse



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw a RSC production of Richard III at the Savoy Theatre in 1999...


Was it that long ago? Blimey, I'm getting old...


anyhow, I was shown this piece up-close when it was touring. The chain itself was made from aluminium square bar which had been bent into chain links and then painted black/brown to look like rusty steel. There were three kabuki style mechanisms which were driven from slow-speed motors. Turn on the motor, a shaft the length of the flown bar rotates and eventually the fingers, over which the chain is hooked, reach a downwards position and the chain drops.


To avoid accidents it required two people's fingers on pendant controllers to allow each motor to turn. The ASM had the main 'go' button but there was a spotter, with a chicken switch, for each motor/bar.


Once dropped, the reset time was around an hour to untangle the chains and rehang it.


And what an awesome effect it was. The crew at Norwich Theatre Royal agreed to show us the full effect and dropped the chains. I was told that great fun was had 'audience watching' when it happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.