The Giant Easel

by Elizabeth Mucha

“What can we project onto?” It was one of those niggling thoughts that went round and round my head as the Art Sung project evolved. Originally we performed it with a TV screen, which, frankly, looked very amateurish. We then upgraded to a projector screen, which was better but smacked of a University lecture. We then toyed with a huge back cloth, the only problem being that the performers would interfere with the projection! Finally in a conversation with an artistic friend the idea of the giant easel was born. A brilliant idea, but now the practicalities of ‘a brilliant idea’ had to be addressed. Where would we find someone who could first construct it and then be capable of building it every time we performed the show?! Enter Martin Wiggins, stage technician extraordinaire. “No problem”, says he and within a very short space of time sends through the technical drawings: a thing of beauty itself!

For those with no interest in details please skip this paragraph. For those who enjoy this type of thing, read on! The easel stands 4.75 metres tall, 2.2 metres wide and 2.38 metres deep. It is made up of 6 seriously thick pieces of wood that are bolted together with a variety of huge nuts and bolts! The wooden frame is 3 metres wide by 2.25 high. The canvas is made up of three pieces of material which are fixed onto the frame with velcro. The frame is then hoisted onto a lip on the easel, 2 metres off the ground, with the help of a rope and secured at the back. The first time we assembled the easel the pulley system wasn’t in place. Imagine 5 people lifting the canvas onto the lip of the easel and trying not to panic as it seemed for a split second that it was going to topple off! Mercifully we saved it. I have no idea what we would have done that evening if it had fallen and smashed! Needless to say, this has now been rectified and now it’s a piece of cake to bring the canvas into place on the easel.

Once assembled the whole thing is counter balanced with 6 heavy sand bags and voilà, it looks like the photo above.

Elizabeth MuchaThe Giant Easel