Transforming ACT

By Fiebig, Greg; Akers, Ryan | Stage Directions, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Transforming ACT


Fiebig, Greg, Akers, Ryan, Stage Directions


The team at Indiana Wesleyan University's Theatre Guild built one turntable for two venues

As soon as Indiana Wesleyan University's Theatre Guild finalized their 2012-2013 season, with Pygmalion in the fall of 2012 and Secret Garden in the spring of 2013, we started discussing staging. As technical director for the IWU Theatre Guild (Dr. Greg Fiebig), scene shop supervisor for the same (Ryan Akers) and scenic designers for each of the shows, we were both wary ofthe elaborate scene changes that mark both plays.

The idea of utilizing a turntable to shorten scene changes rose to the forefront but the expense of building a turntable would eat up nearly the entire set budget for the year. We could only justify building it if it was used in both shows and became a stock piece forfuture seasons, which meant it had to be modular so it could break down compactly and store well. Another area of concern was venues. It would have to work in a black box, yet not get dwarfed on the 30-foot-deep proscenium stage.

After some research, we decided on a basic design of a plywood disc consisting of three layers of plywood glued together to create wedges that could interlock with each other, all lesting turntable on discussed a bed of inverted in the research casters. was The 18 largest feet in diameter, but in order to have our desired 28-foot diameter and follow previous turntable designs, the pie/wedge pieces would have to be 14 feet long. Moving a 14-foot piece, let along storing it, wasn't realistic.

Akers sketched a way to split the turntable into three concentric circles, splitting each wedge into three parts. We refined that and determined that the inner disc would be done in two pieces, the middle ring would be cut into 12 pieces at a 30° angle, and the outer ring would be cut into 15 pieces at a 24° angle. This would also let us set up the turntable with a diameter of 8,18 or 28 feet, depending on how much we wanted to use. …

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Transforming ACT
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