MAKING THE WIND MY FRIEND
Outdoor shows present a special set of problems, with the most dangerous (besides lightning) being the force of high-speed winds. If one is planning to use any type of backdrop, then the wind is your enemy. Wind can tear a backdrop to shreds in a few seconds, and if the backdrop is a “wind-opaque” surface the structural integrity of the stage towers and roof is in peril. Especially when the main backdrop dimension for this production will be more than 60ft wide and 40 ft high; plus other large backdrops on the wings to create the total 180 ft of fabric backgrounds.
In which case I decided to make the wind my friend, not my enemy… and three images came to mind:
– Salvador Dali’s costume design for “As You Like It”;
– A car dealer’s strings of triangular flags suspended from lines strung in the lot; and
– Billboards made up of thousands of mylar strips that become alive in the wind.
Then, using the Dali drawing as an influence, I designed a forced perspective vanishing point into the lighting grids, converging on an upstage left focus point.
Find the performer and note their size relative to the stage!