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Technical Design Solutions for Theatre by Don Harvey, Ben Sammler

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Michael Patterson

A Pneumatic Tab Turner

The masking for the Seattle Rep’s Jolson Sings Again in 1995 included two 4′–6″ × 12′ velour tabs that played perpendicular to plaster between the first and second portals. The tabs effectively blocked the audience’s view of equipment and crew backstage, but they also blocked the passage of two winch-driven wagons that entered from the wings. Prevented from tripping the tabs out of the way because of overhead lighting positions, we decided to rig them to turn back against the back of the first portal for scene changes. Since seeing the run crew move the tabs was undesirable, we built two pneumatic tab turners as described here, and put their control in the hands of the winch operator.

THE BATTEN

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