Monday, February 09, 2009

I don't know how much flash cotton to order.

Bell, Book and Candle opens in 11 days, and we're all scrambling to get the set and props in order. We have permission from the City of Hallowell to use flash cotton for a spell-casting effect in the first act, and I'm trying to figure out how much we need.

Flash cotton is a form of nitrocellulose, also used in flash paper and flash cord. It ignites quickly, burns fast, makes a cool burst of flame and leaves no smoke or ash. We're using flash cotton instead of flash paper because it seems safer to transport; it ships wet, and you dry it out to store it and use it.

I live in a zone between pyrophobia and pyromania. I'm always the first to suggest lighting a fire, although I feel nervous around open flames, and won't light paper matches if I can avoid it. (Wooden matches feel safer, but it's still not my favorite thing to do.) I love to see things set afire at the dinner table, but the one time I tried it myself it startled me so badly I spilled a ladle of wine all over the stove top.

So this is going to be an adventure, for me as well as for my actors, and I'm waiting for a callback right now from a pyrotechnics expert to talk about how much we need to buy, and how we should use it. You just never know when information like this might come in handy.

3 comments:

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Well there's always newspaper...which brings us to

"I wanted the audience to feel the heat from the fire, the fear, because people don't like fire, poked, poked in their noses, you know when you get a cinder from a barbeque right on the end of your nose and you kind of make that face, you know, that's not a good thing, and I wanted them to have the sense memory of that. So during the show I had someone burn newspapers and send it through the vents in the theatre. And well, they freaked out, and 'course the fire Marshall came over and they shut us down for a couple of days."

AnswerGirl said...

Ladies and gentlemen, Corky St. Clair...

Claire said...

I have never heard of this magic device! Sounds like dangerous amounts of fun.

Also, google Terrafugia Transition--I figure the price should deflate enough to make it a reasonable 25th birthday gift for me...