by Kristina Chadwick, Charge Scenic Artist
Have you ever sat in math class wondering, “When am I ever going to use this?” Well, if you’re a Scenic Artist painting the set for a show like Robin Hood at the Arden, you’re going to have to do your math.
The painted tubes ready to go on the set.
The set for Robin Hood, which takes place in the Arcadia Theatre, is surrounded by an abstract forest comprised of many cardboard tubes, metal poles and pieces of lumber of varying diameters and widths. These tubes and boards line the walls of the Arcadia – all at a height of 14 feet from floor to ceiling – and also hang horizontally from the ceiling in a canopy of abstract branches. Additionally, the structure at the center of the set is made of steel poles. All of these tubes, poles, and boards are painted various shades of green from a bright lime color to an almost-black forest green.
(If you were to take every section of steel pole, every cardboard tube and every piece of painted lumber that decorates the stage, and then line them up end to end, they would stretch over a mile in length!)
Our Technical Director Glenn Perlman.
When preparing for a show like this one, you must know how much paint you will need to use. A good starting point is to figure the amount of square footage that needs to be covered by each type/color of paint that you need. Our Technical Director, Glenn Perlman, ordered a total of 300 cardboard tubes of varying diameters from 2 inches to 8 inches, all 14 feet in length. To find the square footage of each tube’s surface you must first find the circumference then multiply it by the length. The equation 2 x Radius x Pi (approx. 3.14) gives you the circumference. A 6-inch diameter tube would have the circumference of approximately 18.84 inches, or 1.57 feet. At a length of 14 feet with a circumference of 1.57 feet, each 6-inch diameter tube would have 21.98 square feet of surface area. There are 19 tubes of 6-inch diameter in the set for Robin Hood, meaning the total square footage of the 6-inch tubes was 417.62. One gallon of paint covers roughly 400 square feet; therefore you would need a little more than 1 gallon of paint for those 19 tubes. Similar calculations were made for the other diameters of cardboard tubes (2, 3, 4 and 8 inches), and for the various pieces of lumber and the steel pipes.
That's Me! Starting to paint the one of many trees.
Overall, we used nearly 10 gallons of paint for the set of Robin Hood, filling the Arcadia space with almost 4,000 square feet of green! That’s 1,000 square feet larger than a regulation Little League infield.
When you see the show, we hope you will feel inspired by the atmosphere and math all around you!!!