Keywords: Peter & the Starcatcher, grotto, starstuff, golden water...
It occurs to me that others who are producing Rick Elice's fantastic Peter & the Starcatcher would appreciate the chance to STEAL FROM THE BEST, so this post is for those guys.
There's a scene in Act 2 where Peter, running from the Mollusk natives, trips and falls into a grotto filled with water in which the starstuff has dissolved. It is described as "thick like oil and warm like a rich man's bath," and as being a shimmering gold, like glass.
In the original Broadway production, Peter climbed a ladder and launched himself into a fireman's-blanket-style trampoline held by the rest of the cast. You may hesitate to do that — we certainly did. For one thing, we didn't really have a ladder as part of the set, and launching Peter from the top of one of the torture devices was not a sane approach.
So here's our solution. It's cheap, easy, and spectacular.
First, the scene in question:
The solution: mylar emergency rescue blankets. As Peter falls toward the "sheet of glass," the shimmering sheet comes spilling out of the set across the stage, where it settles in just as he hits it. (We lifted Peter up, carried him around, and lowered him to where he could fall face first into the water.) When the scene ends abruptly with Peter remembering he has to get to the mountaintop, the pool of water flies offstage in the other direction.
They're cheap, around $10 for a pack of 10.
Decide on an arrangement for your sheets of golden water (we used five of them), then flip them over, face down.
Tape them with a lightweight clear packing tape. Don't worry about perfection or wrinkles or overlaps. None of that will show.
You will also want to tape the edges, since the mylar will eventually tear. Might as well slow it down a bit. If it develops a tear in the middle, just tape over it on the bottom. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure no sticky part of the tape is left exposed. That would be problematic.
Get a box. We used a good old rehearsal box and lined it with black fabric (to prevent the mylar from snagging on anything).
Now you need two short pieces (matching strips) of a medium-duty magnetic tape, the kind with an adhesive back. Staple two strips to the front edge of the box:
Put their matching strips on so that you're sure you are attracting not repelling the mylar. Remove the adhesive strips and press the upstage end of the mylar onto the adhesive:
The magnets allow the water to spill out onto stage without the end flowing uncontrollably out after the body, yet are weak enough to let go immediately when the water is grabbed and run offstage.
Now, on the front ends of your mylar, put two blue duct tape tabs. These will be the handles your actors (in our case, Prentiss and Ted) grab to run downstage with.
Attach the magnets, then loosely stuff the mylar into your box, leaving the blue tabs at the edge.
Cover the mylar with the flap of black fabric you remembered to staple to the back end of the box six steps ago.
And you're ready to go. If I can remember, I'll get a video of the whole thing.
If you actually use this, please send me a photo!