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Anastasia Train Car

  • 1.  Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-05-2022 16:05
    Hi everyone.

    Our high school is producing Anastasia for our musical this year. The director wants to keep it as close to the Broadway version as possible...which means that she wants a train car that can spin onstage.


    The Broadway version, of course, had access to a revolving stage; we have no such luxury. I came up with two solutions:

    1. We build our own revolving stage. This would mean it would have to sit up about 6.25" in the air, and the train car would not be able to leave the stage at all. 
    2. We put the car on casters and have students rotate the car around in a circle. The director does not like the idea of having the audience see people turning the car.

    The director asked if we could put tracks on the stage. It is a brand new stage, so it would not be a good idea to drill into it to attach the tracks and keep them from moving. And without a fully functioning engine, students would still need to move it onstage and spin it manually in front of the audience.

    I contacted a nearby university to see if the theatre program and the engineering program could partner up to help solve this problem, but I was also hoping to pose the question to you all. How would you go about putting this on?

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    Cory Jennett
    KS
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  • 2.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-06-2022 08:39
    Could the "train car" be a profile unit-- IE: only two dimensional-- perhaps made from steel tubing or an exceptionally well constructed unit from Douglas fir or similar straight grained wood species?  A platform or level could be part of the scene design in general and then the profile unit moved on or lowered via fly.  The actors could hold and or pivot the unit themselves.

    Just some ideas

    Best wishes as you pursue the design

    ------------------------------
    Michael Johnson
    Trinity High School
    NC
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  • 3.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-06-2022 09:24
    Hi Cory,

    We are also doing Anastasia and I've requested a spinning train as well from my set designer :).  I should be getting her preliminary drawings in the next few days and I'll let you know her solution.

    ------------------------------
    Laura Russo
    Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts
    Chatham High School
    NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-06-2022 11:32
    Don't know if this may help, but here's how I did the barricade in Lez Miz several years ago. It worked so well that some people told me they thought it was mechanized.

    https://setdesignandtech.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/24/


    ------------------------------
    George F. Ledo
    Set designer
    www.setdesignandtech.wordpress.com
    www.georgefledo.net
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-06-2022 15:44

    We are doing Anastasia in June and have built a "train" out of  painting canvases put  together.  This makes it ultra lightweight and we can use small casters to keep it very close to the ground.  It is actually in two sections, and they click together using bed frame hardware. This one, pictured below is 6 feet wide and 10 feet long and will have 6 "passengers" who will be responsible for rotating it at the correct points in the projection while the three principles walk around singing.  The bits on the end are hinged, so that the small section becomes the "door" that they jump out of.  Using bed frame hardware, the simply have to lift up and push out when they jump off the train.

    Each corner is hinged so that it can be flipped around and becomes the boxes at the ballet.  Finally, because this set piece is reversable, the side not in use needs to be hidden from the audience.  Conveniently the whole thing can be hidden by twin sheets that fit perfectly across the top – 66" – and cover to the floor. 

     

    Because we have a shortage of storage space, the two pieces, separated, will be stored on stage near the cyc, but since they are covered with white sheets, the projection will just go on them.  When they need to be used, the actors will just (in Act 1) assemble the train move it to centre and then reveal the painted train carriage and when done, move it to the wings (where it now files the entire wing – but that's the last bit in the Act); or (in Act 2) will move the pieces to either side of the stage and then reveal the opera boxes and when done, re-cover them and move them back upstage.

     

    Robert Forbes

    Producer

    Mountain Dream Productions

    info@mountaindreambc.com

     

    www.mountaindreambc.com

    follow us on FB/IG/YouTube

    @mountaindreambc

     






  • 6.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-08-2022 11:15
    We are also doing Anastasia. We have opted to go with the rolling platform, and have the stage hands costumed as train attendants at each corner moving the car. My thoughts are, this is a high school production. Using people to turn the car gets more students on stage, costs a lot less, and let’s be honest, it’s high school not Broadway. If they stand there expressionless, looking like attendants, they won’t take away from the actors or the effect. That’s my opinion anyway:) I’m having a bigger issue with figuring out the staging of the ballet and the multiple theatre boxes on a small stage!🤦🏻‍♀️ I would love to hear your solutions for that:)

    Lori Bush
    Director of Theatre Activities
    Pike County Middle School
    Pike County High School

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 7.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-09-2022 08:08
    We are ALSO doing Anastasia!  Guess that's the show to do this year.  I agree with Lori, it's high school, so we are going to use attendants.  I figure if the train spins easily, they can stay upstage the whole time, and might actually blend in with the passengers.  We have a small hole center stage, covered by a plate that they must have created for Les Miz years back.  We are hoping to put the pole in the middle of the train and put it in that hole, so it rotates around that pole.  I also have very little wing storage, so it would be great if the train could be in two halves, but the top part might be a problem assembling onstage.  Any thought on how that might be achieved?  Are you using the projections from Broadway Media?  (extremely helpful company!)  If so, front or rear projection?  What are you using for your screen?  Is anyone using set pieces (French doors, columns, arches?) in addition to the projection?  Also, what are all using for the music box?  I'd rather not spend the $80 I'm seeing online.  Our show is at the end of March, so if it goes well, and anyone wants the train and lives in the Long Island area, it's yours! 





    ------------------------------
    [Karen] [Malone]
    [National Board Certified Teacher of English]
    IB Theatre Teacher
    ITS Advisor
    [Commack High Schoo]
    [Commack] [New York]
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-09-2022 13:39

    Our "Attendants" are the other passengers on the train car.  Our train is in two halves and does not have a "top"  But would look like this in our artist's rendering.  If, in the end we felt we needed more vertical things to put in, then we would add that design element, but we're not there yet.  It's currently at the painter's studio, so I can't show you the actual set piece yet.

     

    We are also using the Broadway Media projections, which look AMAZING, but they are not "script matched" as they note.  – The script is 105 pages long, the projections end at page 115.  They have a project underway to make them so, but I have not heard anything further about that since they told me they were going ahead and assigned a resource to it, a month ago.  

     

    There are definitely some problem areas in the projection cue suite - particularly in this train sequence.  I have shared my detailed analysis with them.

     

    Happy to share my findings with you ... send me an email.

     

    Rob

     

    Robert Forbes

    Producer

    Mountain Dream Productions

    info@mountaindreambc.com

     

    www.mountaindreambc.com

    follow us on FB/IG/YouTube

    @mountaindreambc

     






  • 9.  RE: Anastasia Train Car

    Posted 01-09-2022 13:57
    Yes, you are right about the projections- the cues are labeled starting at Act 1, scene 1, not the prologue, which throws off all of Act I, and probably the page numbers for the entire script.  For example, the ghosts dancing should be scene 2 but it's listed as scene 4 in the cue list.  I only contacted them about that yesterday, and they said they are currently going through it to make it more script accurate.  Are you doing front or rear projections?

    ------------------------------
    [Karen] [Malone]
    [National Board Certified Teacher of English]
    IB Theatre Teacher
    ITS Advisor
    [Commack High Schoo]
    [Commack] [New York]
    ------------------------------