This is another in a series of post concerning plays I have been involved in at Theatre Huntsville. This week’s play is Deathtrap, by Ira Levin. The play is about a mystery writer planning the perfect murder. It is quite funny, and in 1982 Christopher Reeve and Michael Cain starred in the movie version.
Deathtrap was a great play to be the Technical Director on. The set was massive, and fun to build. I had a fabulous set dresser, so the end result was amazing. The set was two stories, with a full staircase and a massive amount of room. It also had one special effect that I was scared to death to build, but I managed to pull it off.
In a climatic scene, one actor shoots another with a crossbow. Crossbows are incredibly dangerous machines, and the thought of an actor firing one at another scared me to death. Since the loading of the crossbow was a vital scene, it couldn’t be easily faked by not putting a bolt into the crossbow. I was in quite the conundrum.
Keep in mind, I had never fired a crossbow much less built one. And now I had to build one that worked. I learned a few things from that build, the most important one is that it is easier to build a crossbow than you might think. It is easier to build one that really fires, and fires accurately than you might think. And the hard part is building one you can load, fire, but the bolt never leaves. Also, triggers are tricky, and you need to keep them as simple as you can.
Since I had absolutely no idea how I was going to manage that, I decided to show my success or failure on YouTube. For your viewing pleasure, and my humiliation, here is the four video blogs I put together of the build of the crossbow. I now know that if the Zombie Apocalypse occurs, I’ll be ready for it. After all, I can build a crossbow.
As I mentioned in my last post about theatre, we did a trailer for this play as well. Actually, we toyed with several trailers, but this is my favorite.