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The Mountaintop

TheatreWorks

by Katori Hall

Palo Alto, CA 2013

Directed by: Anthony J. Haney

Scenic Design by: Erik Sinkkonen

Technical Design by: Sarah Lowe

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The Mountaintop involves an angel appearing before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his hotel room the night before he is assassinated. At one point during the show, the angel starts crying and flowers grow out of the hotel room carpet wherever her tears land. For this effect, Prop Master Sarah Lowe thought of using small flowers pre-loaded into acrylic tubes that were mounted in the scenery and hidden by the carpet until the appropriate moment.

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Above is a cross section of the various pieces we used for testing. Individual white flowers with small pieces of greenery were taped to small wires using floral tape. The wires then had a plug epoxied to the end to ensure they could only grow so far, as well as be easily reset.

Below is a before shot of the flower pre-loaded into the tube, and an after shot of the grown flower.

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Below is a photo of the underside of the scenic platform with all of the flowers in the grown position. 

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Ultimately, as these things go, the action of the flowers being activated individually did not quite work. The solution was to have them grow in groups, which required some modification. Instead of having plugs to keep the flowers from exiting their tubes, we used two pieces of masonite with the wires trapped in-between. In addition, to keep the flowers up due to the added weight of the masonite, we attached washers to the bottom of the tubes and installed magnets into the masonite sandwiches. 

This allowed the flowers to grow quickly in groups with only a single crewmember performing the action and was a successful change.

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