"Inside the Box" Theatrical Special Effects Project for Engineering 162 Dani Christ Marilyn Markowski Sarah Ebmeier Ashley Simmons Mario and Luigi on Sabbatical
Designing Special Effects • Our task was to design five special effects for a play called “Mario and Luigi on Sabbatical.” • Our effects enhanced the play by adding visual aid and increasing the humor of the play as the characters reacted to our effects.
Operating Under Constraints • Our team successfully accomplished the set-up and take-down of the effects within the 5 allotted minutes. • Each member had a responsibility which she successfully fulfilled.
Our team operated our special effects using a switchboard located twenty feet from the grid. • The board was connected to a control box from which wires ran to the effects.
Enhancing the Play • We hid our effects behind bricks made from red poster board, which made the set look like a room in the Nintendo game. • They went off on time and added humor, surprise, and visual aid to the play as the audience and the actors reacted to them.
Effect #1: Falling Bottles • The bottles added humor and surprise as they fell directly onto Luigi’s head at the cue of Mario’s line. • The bottles were oversized and decorated with “Jump Cola” labels to make them seem as if they fit in a Nintendo game.
Design • Fishing line holds the bottles at the top of a cardboard ramp. On cue, a switch controlled solenoid with a razor blade attached to the plunger contracts, cutting the line and releasing all six bottles at once.
Effect #2: Falling Snow • The sudden, unexpected snow shower surprised the characters and the audience. • It added aesthetic appeal to the scene as sparkling white flakes fell softly on Mario and Luigi.
Design • Our team drilled holes into the sides of a mailing tube and attached a motor to the end of the tube. We mounted the tube horizontally onto a wooden frame. • As the motor turns, the shaft of the motor revolves the tube, releasing snow though the holes.
Effect #3: Flying Clouds • The flying clouds surprised the audience and the characters as they seemed to magically appear on the set. We cause them to move out from behind brick barriers by the command of a switch. Constructed two dimensionally from poster board, they looked like the clouds in the real Nintendo game and seemed to drift back and forth across the set.
Design • We built two apparatuses and mounted one to each end of the grid. • We attached a revolving wheel to each apparatus and tied a rope in a loop around the wheels. • The clouds hang from the rope and drift back and forth as a motor attached to one of the apparatuses turns the wheels. • The motor is switch operated and can turn the wheels in forward and reverse directions, depending on the command we give the switch.
Effect #4: Flashing Light • The flashing light shined a alternating red and green spotlight on Luigi, making his body seem “blink” and creating a strobe effect • They added to the chaos and suspense of the scene.
Design • We constructed the spotlight by constructing two triangular cardboard frames around two small yet powerful lamps • We mounted two of these spotlights side by side on a wooden block which hung from the grid.
We covered the opening of the cardboard frames with red and green saran wrap to make the light shine red and green. • We used switches to turn the lamps on and flash the colors alternatively.
Effect #5: Balloon Popping • The balloon effect surprised the audience and added to the abruptness of the play’s finale. • It was activated on cue to create the sound of the mother pulling the plug of the game at the end of the play.
Design • We constructed an apparatus in which a balloon is held on a wooden block. • Above the balloon lies a hollow tube with a small screw held at the top by a washer and a solenoid.
Attached to the solenoid is a nail which is positioned horizontally across the tube through two small holes. • When the solenoid contracts and pulls the nail out of the tube, the screw falls onto the balloon, popping it.
Safety • Our team took several precautions to ensure the safety of the actors as well as the engineers.
Affixing caution labels to areas of danger on the effects. • Constructing a guard to place over the blade on the bottle effect • Emptying the liquid from the Jump Cola bottles to prevent them from hurting the actors • Encasing our relays in a plastic box to prevent electrocution