The setting we are using for Much Ado About Nothing is an Italian stone villa. There are many ways to create stone on stage. What we decided to do was use vacuform plastic. It allows for a 3D look without having to create each stone by hand. The kind we ordered is made from high impact polystyrene. That is the same substance used in foam cups and everyone should be aware that they are not good for the environment. It is also likely on the side of your house or your neighbor’s. It also may be the insulation in your walls. This is what the Environmental Defense Fund thinks of it: carcinogenic.
Plastic is an environmental problem. It was made by man and does not occur in nature. It doesn’t break down. It was made to be durable, to last, and not break down. The technology exists to recycle it, but the recycling process like the manufacturing process isn’t very environmentally friendly. Many cities won’t allow all plastics in their recycling bins. Unfortunately, most of the replacement products have drawbacks. Plastic is useful. It is easy for a company to heat it, soften it, and create the illusion of stone. That is much easier than me and my carpenters cutting individual stones from wood. And the other option is foam, which basically made of the same plastic.
November 11, 2013 at 2:55 AM
Plastics have been a bit of a revolution – we might call it a revolution of convenience. One thing we have been learning is that convenience doesn’t always lead to the best outcome. Fortunately human beings are intensely creative (vis: Much Ado). So now is the time for creative people to explore alternatives. There must be other ways to recreate rocks on stage that has a lower, minimal, or even negative, impact. In the meantime perhaps we need to call on actors and theatre directors to exercise their imaginations, who are so skilled at enrolling the imaginations of the audiences, to create the sense of rocks with little or no physical resource to call upon. There was a famous production of Macbeth (yeah, I’m not really superstitious – sorry!) in which there were three props and actors became their roles as they entered a circle. And yet I could feel the cold and hear the crows circling the towers of the remote Scottish castle…
November 11, 2013 at 2:59 AM
On a more practical, less theoretical, note, I have seen crumpled sheets sprayed with a combination of silver, black and white paint used to great effect, and they have the advantage of being easy to store and use again.