How to Turn a Soda Bottle into a Landscape
By Bryant Edwards
Sometimes sets can be simple, other times we have to create an imaginative fairytale landscape out of recycled materials. But where do these ideas come from? Here’s what the Arden’s Production Manager, Courtney Riggar, has to say about the concept behind the set:
“We wanted to create a show where this rag tag group of people came together to tell a bunch of stories, and we were immediately inspired by First Friday in Old City. Artists from all over just basically squat somewhere and make art. So we thought, what if this particular group squatted on our Arcadia Stage on top of the set that was already there from our last show? How would they make a show? Would they just use the stuff that they found lying around? Would they raid the Arden’s recycle bins, props storage, etc? Then our Set Designer, Brian Bembridge found a picture of a bunch of green bottles grouped together that almost looked like grass (below), and we were off! We began raiding our recycle bins for plastic bottles, and drinking lots and lots of ginger ale and sprite….and thus begins the journey of the plastic bottles.”
But we weren’t done! Let’s find out exactly how we turned these recycled bottles into the standout set piece of our production of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales…
First, we collected as many green soda bottles as we could over the course of a few months.
Once we had a stockpile, we carefully peeled all the labels off and used a band saw to cut the bottles to size. Some we cut in half vertically, while other we just trimmed off the top.
After all the bottles were cleaned and trimmed, we painted most of them various shades of green, the remaining bottles we left unpainted.
The next step required a piece of plexiglass that was cut to size by the Arden’s Technical Director, Glenn Perlman. We carefully laid out all the bottles (as well as some egg cartons and paper towel rolls) on the plexiglass to determine what pattern looked best.
After we figured out the best pattern, we hot glued the bottles in place.
Finally, we put the finished piece up on the set and…VOILA! We have a fairytale landscape ready to go.