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Technical Design Solutions for Theatre by Don Harvey, Ben Sammler

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Pneumatic Drop Boxes

Andrew Plumer

Drop boxes are often used in theater to achieve a sudden and dramatic scene change. They may contain a drop, banner, or loose material such as confetti or ticker tape. The chief challenge in engineering drop boxes is to ensure that the effect is quiet and repeatable. The designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of Measure for Measure wanted four, grid-high, orange china silk banners to be released behind the actors at a specific moment. Technical Director Mario Tooch achieved this through a set of pneumatic drop boxes that a single operator could trigger simultaneously.

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FIGURE 1: THE DROP BOX

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