Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breaking Glass

Okay, so I'm working on this show, Beyond Therapy, at the Stage Co. in Carbondale and one of the sound effects that we have to do is the sound of a vase breaking. Easy, right? Just break a vase, sweep up the pieces with a broom and have done with it. Nope. Can't just break a vase backstage. It's just not safe. So, how do we do this? One of my actors, Jared, who plays Bob the spurned gay lover, mentioned that when they have had to do this foley (sound effect) before at John A. Logan College, they've gotten a box with gravel in it. Okay, good. I take my kids and spend about a half an hour picking up a bucketful of gravel. I get it to the theater and set it up for Jared to throw down the vase. Problem: The box I had wasn't deep enough and glass sprayed everywhere. Remember that safety thing I was talking about? Yup, that was it. So this wasn't going to work. Plus the fact that the sound didn't carry into the house (audience area of the theater). It just sounded like a thump. So, what next? We could have just laid the vase in the gravel and hammer it, but we would have the same issue with the sound and the safety. So I tried putting the vase in a plastic bag and hitting it against the wall. Another Bad Idea. It broke, but it also tore the bag to shreds in the process, so while glass didn't get me in the face, it did get all over the floor. Plus, the sound didn't carry. Again, it just sounded like a thump. Okay guys, we're going for the tinkling sound that glass makes when it breaks, not a thump. Next idea. Still use a bag and hammer the glass in the bag. That way there is nothing to absorb the sound and the safety is there with the bag, just as long as the bag doesn't tear again, which, theoretically, it won't because it won't get caught between the pieces of glass and some other hard, flat surface, like a wall. Just the hammer. Try it. Success!!! The tinkling sound was beautiful and the bag didn't tear and we were able to just dump the glass pieces in the trash. I try it one more time with the same bag and it was successful yet again. Yay! We had our solution. I dump out the glass pieces and get it set up for the show, vase in the same bag that I had been using. No point in wasting bags. Well, Jared breaks the vase during the rehearsal and about five minutes later, Susie, my ASM (Assistant Stage Manager) comes up to me and says that the bag trick won't work because she got a piece of glass in her toe. Not big or bad, just sorta settled there when the bag ripped. New solution: Waste the bags. Use a new bag for each performance and just throw the whole thing away. We will see tonight if that fixes the problem. Never thought breaking glass could be so hard, did you?

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