A couple of weeks, in my post on Single Kabuki Drapes, I promised that I would do another post on Double Kabukis. Well, here you go!
A Single Kabuki allows a single release – the drape is hanging, the solenoids are released, and the kabuki drops to the ground. With a Double Kabuki, through the use of either two sets of solenoids or one set in which each solenoid has two pins, a double release occurs.
Initially, the kabuki is not seen by the audience. It is hanging high up near the truss, enclosed in what is called a diaper. For the first release, the first set of solenoids (or one set of pins) is released, and the bottom of the Kabuki drops toward the stage, allowing the audience to see the Kabuki. On the second release, the second set of solenoids (or pins) releases the top of the kabuki (and in some cases the diaper) , which then drops to the ground.
A Double Kabuki is made in a very similar way to a Single Kabuki, with velcro on the top front and back, but doesn’t have velcro on the bottom. The major difference is that a Double Kabuki also includes a diaper. A diaper is a soft good that is sewn at the same width as the Kabuki, but is only around 24″ high (this can vary depending on the fabric used on the Kabuki as well as the height of the Kabuki). The top of the diaper is attached to the top back of the Kabuki, between the fabric and the Velcro. The bottom of the diaper has velcro on the front and back.
To set up the Double Release of the Kabuki, the Kabuki is laid flat, front side up. It is then rolled from the bottom to the top, until it is encased in the diaper like a sling. Velcro D-rings are then attached to the top of the Kabuki/Diaper and to the bottom of the diaper. The Velcro D-Rings on the top of the Kabuki are hung on one set of solenoid pins and the Velcro D-rings on the bottom of the diaper are hung on the second set of solenoid pins, leaving the Kabuki hanging unseen in a hammock high above the stage.
For the first release, the pins holding the D-Rings attached to the bottom of the diaper retract. This causes the bottom of the diaper to drop behind and the Kabuki to unroll toward the stage. For the second release, the pins holding the D-rings attached to the top of the Kabuki/diaper retract, and the Kabuki drops to the stage floor.
When might a Double Kabuki be used rather than a Single Kabuki? Well, let’s say that a band has a dramatic printed backdrop, but they don’t want it to hang for the entire show. Instead, they want it to be used only for part of the show (maybe even for just one song). The band can start the show without the backdrop.
When the desired time comes, the first release occurs and the printed backdrop suddenly appears as if from nowhere. When the song or show section ends, the Kabuki then drops to the floor.
Another example of stage magic. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
There’s one more related item, called the Poor Man’s Kabuki, but I’ll tell you about that in a future post.