Also called a Tearaway, a Poor Man’s Kabuki has two parts – the kabuki-style drape and the header. The drape is sewn with loop velcro at the top in back. Then, to make the header, a piece of webbing (usually 3″ wide) and a piece of hook velcro (usually 2″ wide) are cut to the same size as the width of the drape (for example, if the drape is 50 feet wide, a 50 foot piece of webbing and a 50 foot piece of velcro would be used).
The velcro is then sewn onto the webbing, leaving room at the top of the webbing to add grommets and ties (which are usually spaced every 12″, aka 12″ on center).
The header is attached to the top of the kabuki-style drape via the velcro and then the drape is hung on truss above the stage. When it is time to “drop” (remove) the drape, someone from the crew pulls the drape – because the drape is attached to the header by velcro only, the drape releases from the header and falls to the ground. The crew quickly bundles up the drape and takes it offstage. At the end of the show, the webbing header is untied from the truss and stuck back onto the drape in preparation for the next show.
When would a Poor Man’s Kabuki be used rather than a traditional single or double kabuki? Generally when the purpose of the drape is to hide a second band’s equipment while the first band is onstage in front of the drape. Once the first band has left the stage and their equipment has been cleared, the crew member quickly pulls down the drape to reveal the second band behind it.
Yes, this could be done with a Single Kabuki – however, a traditional kabuki system is more expensive and more complicated to set up, since it uses a solenoid system – and so a solenoid-based kabuki system is generally overkill in a simple “hide the second band” situation. The Poor Man’s Kabuki isn’t meant to be used for dramatic reveals, but more as a masking piece.