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View Full Version : Getting a prop stretcher...in a few days.



Icewalker
2011-02-26, 10:48 PM
Hey there, so I've got a touch of trouble at the moment. I'm in a production of Richard III. And we need a stretcher to carry on a body for one scene. Something apparently we don't have and probably won't be able to get.

I've told the director that I'd rather build a stretcher myself that not have one to carry on in that scene, as carrying a person without one looks incredibly awkward. And, I was being honest. So basically, here I am, with the first show on Wednesday, in need to finding or making a stretcher within a few days.

My first idea was to build something. Obviously buying something would be easier, although I really don't know where or how to do that...so if anybody has possibilities there, I'd be grateful, as it'd save me no end of trouble.

As to building something, which is my fallback, and likely going to be the plan. I'm trying to figure out how to best simply put something together. I was thinking, just get a couple thick wooden dowels, and a sheet or something, and then probably some kind of strange cutting and knotting pattern to attach them. Not sure how to go about that attaching, nor necessarily what the best material might be to use for it to be sturdy enough to actually carry a person. Maybe a tarp would be better?

Appearance isn't important. It should be covered anyway for nearly all of the scene.

Haruki-kun
2011-02-26, 10:57 PM
Probably sown together? It's sturdy, or so I hear. Or you could try other things like... fishing nets or something like that. Those are pretty strong.

RS14
2011-02-26, 11:35 PM
Get a couple of thick, long wooden rods. Fold them in heavy canvas (from your local textile shop) in such a manner that friction will hold them together when supporting weight (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEmmJEuymg) . Get some thread, stitch the canvas together at the edges, so it stays together when unloaded.

Icewalker
2011-02-27, 03:34 AM
That looks pretty much perfect. Incredibly helpful video. Now I just need to go and get some heavy canvas, and I'm good. Also figure out a good way to do that stitching. I can (barely and very poorly) sew, but I only have very thin thread I believe, and feel that might not be the best plan.

Nibleswick
2011-02-27, 03:38 AM
Just reinforce your seams a few times it'll be fine. Oh, and ask the costume folk if you can use their sewing machine for a bit (or get one of them to do it for you if you are really not confident). It will only take about ten minutes at the most.

Mercenary Pen
2011-02-27, 03:49 AM
All the chaos people go through to create or acquire props for theatre... fun times- though in our case it was a matter of mocking up a helicopter one year using a section of rostrum as a base for it.

So no, I know nothing about strange prop requirements, nothing at all. *looks shifty eyed and backs away*

Good luck with the show dude. Hope you're confident with what you're doing and hope it goes well.

Adumbration
2011-02-27, 04:30 AM
Get a couple of thick, long wooden rods. Fold them in heavy canvas (from your local textile shop) in such a manner that friction will hold them together when supporting weight (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEmmJEuymg) . Get some thread, stitch the canvas together at the edges, so it stays together when unloaded.

If you want to be cheap, you can just cut down a few appropriately-sized saplings from the woods and use a large blanket.

Mercenary Pen
2011-02-27, 04:44 AM
If you want to be cheap, you can just cut down a few appropriately-sized saplings from the woods and use a large blanket.

Be careful if you're doing this, some authorities may not take too kindly to you coming and chopping down their trees. For example I know that many of the trees locally to me are professionally forested by the local council every few years and the resulting wood chippings sold on.

Kallisti
2011-02-27, 08:42 PM
Break a leg! Only, y'know, not literally--do be careful with the prop stretcher.

Meg
2011-02-28, 03:59 PM
All the chaos people go through to create or acquire props for theatre... fun times- though in our case it was a matter of mocking up a helicopter one year using a section of rostrum as a base for it.

So no, I know nothing about strange prop requirements, nothing at all. *looks shifty eyed and backs away*

Good luck with the show dude. Hope you're confident with what you're doing and hope it goes well.

Ah, did you do Miss Saigon? Any theater with the means to make a helicopter is pretty awesome in my book. My high school theater had immense difficulty acquiring two rotary style telephones.

Mercenary Pen
2011-02-28, 04:12 PM
Ah, did you do Miss Saigon? Any theater with the means to make a helicopter is pretty awesome in my book. My high school theater had immense difficulty acquiring two rotary style telephones.

Nope, we did a self-written piece entitled Zombies: The Musical- and did this the year that the production of Miss Saigon at Milton Keynes Theatre decided to go without the helicopter. We may be a small, amateur company, but we have a pretty awesome group of people for props and stage dressing... Having made other large props like lampposts.

When it came to the helicopter, we built the frame out of wood and plasric curtain rail (which provided the ability to bend combined with the semi-rigidity to provide a firm shape behind the outer layer- which was mostly cardboard)... We ended up using a cordless power drill to operate the rotors...

grimbold
2011-03-01, 11:15 AM
Get a couple of thick, long wooden rods. Fold them in heavy canvas (from your local textile shop) in such a manner that friction will hold them together when supporting weight (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEmmJEuymg) . Get some thread, stitch the canvas together at the edges, so it stays together when unloaded.

this appears to be exactly what you need

Icewalker
2011-03-01, 01:17 PM
It is indeed. I'm going to go and get the stuff today. :smallbiggrin:

Herpestidae
2011-03-01, 01:37 PM
Break a leg! Only, y'know, not literally--do be careful with the prop stretcher.

Note: Falling off of a stretcher and breaking your leg would be hilariously ironic.