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Entertainment Rigging for the 21st Century by Bill Sapsis

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6

Counterweight Rigging

KAREN BUTLER

History

As near as can be told, theatrical rigging (the suspension of scenery and actors above the performance area) started in Greece. In their plays about gods and heroes, they wanted more spectacle. They searched for better and bigger staging effects to entice the audience and engage them in the tragedy and drama in front of them.

In the “modern” theatre, stagehands utilized the technology of the day to rig scenery. Relying on the rope crafts of the tall-ship sailor, theatre technicians used belaying pins, Manila hemp, wooden grids, and sandbags to counterbalance scenery and lights. Every new show required a skilled crew to spot loft blocks on the grid specific to the incoming show, and to reeve hemp through ...

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