Making Muna – Set
8 November, 2012 § Leave a comment
This is a little insight into what it takes to make a show like Muna. First of all you need a set.
Since the play was in a story-telling style with a narrator we wanted to have the set tie into this. We also needed it to be free-standing so that it could be put up indoors and outdoors on different surfaces. We had scenes in a number of locations so the concept of the set being a book with pages to show different locations was born.
It also had to be something I could make with not too much help, something that could be broken down into a car for transport and made in the most environmentally responsible way possible. So the design meant that each cover of the book was made in two halves, each 1m square, that formed a 2m high 1m wide cover when bolted together. Four square frames are relatively simple and even I would have problems messing it up. Then four bolt holes and long bolts to hold it all together. Finally a spine that would attach both sides, allow them to move freely, fold in half for transport and could hold all the pages of the book. I went to Oxford Wood Recycling with my order and they kindly cut all the pieces I needed to length from the salvaged wood they have.
Then the pages. They needed to break down into transportable components too. I wanted to make each page a frame with a page made of cloth stretched over it. These then needed to attach to the spine. I decided for the corner pieces and the clips to hold them to the spine I would get plumbing pipe, since it is simple to attach and gives right angles, t-pieces and clips of a consistent size. I did some research into plastic pipe materials and where PVC is not a very planet-friendly resource there are other pipes made of ABS (what Lego is made out of) and this is a different plastic that is much more environmentally sound.
The edges of the frame needed to be sustainable and I went for bamboo as the fastest growing plant on the planet and arguably the most renewable resource available. This was a bit of a nightmare because you cannot guarantee the width of each end of each pole but after much work we did get enough to fit the plumbing pipe to make the pages.
The pages themselves were made of lightweight theatrical cloth and plain black polycotton. After several design changes they were tied onto the frames with a pocket running through the middle for the central bamboo re-enforcer to run through. These were then painted and had Velcro added to it to stick on additions to the basic backdrop to make the house pages look like three different houses and to add a flap onto the black page to cover the hole in it when it was not in use.
That’s an overview of how we made the set, if you enjoyed this please check back in the coming weeks, for the props and costume entries.