Moving Day! For the last few weeks, I’ve been staying my kind and generous friend, Sheldon at the Regency Suites. We worked together on Little Shop in Fredericton and he’s in Calgary right now doing a bang-up job in Theatre Calgary’s Anne Of Green Gables. But Now the show is open, so Sheldon will be around the suite a lot more and I didn’t want to impose too much, so I did my laundry, packed my things and headed south to 18th ave. An old friend and Science Centre colleague, Alex, moved out here a few years ago to help run things over at Telus Spark and he’s a good sport and has given me an air mattress in his living room – which takes up a significant amount of his square footage. What a guy!
As vagabond artist, I often find myself depending on the kindness of others to get by. I’ve been really lucky to have met with mostly good experiences and it never ceases to amaze me how generous people can be. As someone who likes his space, I am so grateful when someone just opens up their house and says “Sure! Come on in. Invade my home! Disrupt my life! Glad to have you!”
In terms of puppetry, today was a quiet one. I spent all morning rigging the mouth mechanism for the Old Man Elf. At first glance, I thought it would b really simple. There’s an eye hook in the back of the jaw (#1), another in the top of the head (#2) and a third on the control rod at the neck (#3). The principle is a simple one – just run a line from #1, through #2 and down to #3, you pull the string with one finger and voila! the mouth opens.
But it stays open. So I had to build in a spring of some kind to make the mouth snap shut. My first attempt was with an elastic band. But the working space is so small and eye hooks so close together that I just couldn’t get the tension right. Shawna also raised some concerns about the resiliency of the elastic band – and I really hate the thought of my rigging breaking mid-shoot. So I talked to Peter about it and he suggested I try using a spring.
Of course, there aren’t any springs of the right size in the workshop, so I had to go hunting. With no success. Back to elastic bands. Let’s try a larger one. Better, but I’m still finding it impossible to get the tension just right. What if I move the eye hook? Better, but now it’s too far down the rod. So I split the difference and it seems to work all right, but Peter wants it tighter, so I use an even larger elastic – and I’m still worried about breakage. So instead of tying the elastic in, I end up just wrapping it around the rod and tucking it under itself. The wider wrap disperses some of the tension (I think) and it makes repairs easier if and when it goes.
So I guess that was today’s lesson: if you can’t make it break-proof at least make it easy to fix.
I know. This photo was taken pre-elastic band. I’ll try to remember to get a shot of the finished product tomorrow.