One 4 inch PVC pipe the length of the stage and two end caps for same
appropriate couplings for PVC runs longer than length of PVC pipe
PVC cement and cleaner
One coupling for a garden hose
An electric drill with a 1/16 drill bit for water holes and appropriate
bit for garden hose coupling
A length of garden hose to the nearest water source
catch basins to be constructed out of wood and described further below
plastic sheeting to line catch basins
appropriate stage hardware to suspend the apparatus
How to construct it
Lay out the PVC pipe on the stage below its resting place. Cement together the PVC
pipe, if necessary, for longer runs with an appropriate coupling. On one end cap, drill a
hole in the appropriate size to accommodate the garden hose inlet piece. Glue that into
place. Then glue on the end caps.
Mark a straight line from end to end of the PVC. Drill small holes approximately every
inch the length of the rain run.
Build catch basins. The rain comes down straight, so the catch basins do not need to be
that wide. Owosso used three basins that were eight inches deep, eight feet long and two
foot wide. They could have been narrower. In fact, with the amount of water that actually
comes out, they could have been skipped altogether since the rain closes the first act and
the stage crew could have mopped up the stage during intermission. However, the front of
the catch basins are a wave set piece, made of Luan and painted blue. PIP pulls her little
ship across the stage behind the basins. The little ship is on uneven wheels to make it
pitch as it moves.
Truly you will be surprised by the small about of water necessary to achieve this
effect. The Owosso stage crew never even emptied the catch basins during the entire run of
the show, including two dress rehearsals. More water was used to adjust the lights than to
run the show five times. Line the basins with plastic sheeting to collect the water.
Here is the trick. The angle of the PVC run must be adjusted so that the rain starts
flowing out all holes at once. A level PVC run will result in rain sweeping across the
stage from the garden hose inlet to the other end. Once the angle is adjusted for your
theater, hang the pipe in your location, making sure you miss other elements in the
ceiling you don't want wet.
Time how long it takes the water to travel to the PVC once it is turned on and
incorporate this into the stage manager's directions.
Element Two: Lighting the Rain
All of this will be missed if the lighting is not set appropriately to see the rain.
Side lights and down lighting seemed to work best from all the options Owosso ran through.