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Technical Design Solutions for Theatre by Don Harvey, Ben Sammler

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Daniel J. Culhane

A Spring-Driven Revolve

John Lee Beatty’s designs for our East of the Sun and West of the Moon included a small, wagonmounted revolve which allowed one of the play’s characters to disappear quickly. This revolve rotated through only 180° each performance; but carried a 180-pound person and the backing wall that hid him. Its spin began with enough snap to make the disappearance convincing, but didn’t stop with an absolute jolt.

A torsion-spring seemed the ideal motor for this trick. Self-contained and lightweight, torsion springs start unwinding at full torque and lose effectiveness as they unwind. That characteristic gave the revolve the sudden start and the controllable deceleration it needed. To establish the correct start ...

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