Rotating platforms

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Rotating platforms

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scene within a show. A fully revolving set was an innovation

constructed by the hydraulics engineer Tommaso Francini for an

elaborately produced pageant, Le ballet de la dlivrance de Renaud,

which was presented for Marie de Medici in January 1617 at the

Palais du Louvre and noted with admiration by contemporaries.

The first major use of revolving stages began in Japan

during Kabuki performances. In the 1750s, Namiki Shz, previously

just known for his work as a theatrical dramatist in Japan,

introduced a stage design know as a mawari butai. The literal

English translation is revolving stage; however, the denotation is

quite different from the modern understanding of the word.

Initially, the stages were wheeled circular platforms that were

fixed on a stage and turned manually. A wall running through the

diameter of the circle allowed a quick reveal of other Kabuki

performers and chanters. Although the platform did indeed revolve,

the problems of visual scenic changers still hindered the spectacle.

Through trial and error methods involving the issues still at hand in

the Kabuki theatre, the platform eventually became flush with the

immobile sections of the stage. This in-turn placed the mechanism

below the stage and hid the manual labor. After this downward shift,

the manual technology only increased. One circle, in the 1820s in

Japan, was placed inside another circle and was used for various

transitions. Some special effects included one boat passing another

by the two rings turning against each other. This was just an

example of many tricks that the Kabuki theatre developed. Revolving

stages were a huge step towards the stylized form Kabuki theatre is

known for today. They made it possible to implore supernatural

transformations and come up with creative entrances and exits.

Modern Kabuki theatre companies still employ a rotating stage but in

a much smaller capacity. For the most part, the wall on the circle is

flush with the wall behind the chanters, and a rotation is used to

allow new head chanters to be revealed seamlessly.

The very first revolving stage in the western world was built by Karl

Lautenschlger (18431906) in 1896 in Munich, Germany.

Lautenschlger studied under Carl Brandt at the court theatre in

Darmstadt from there he went to Munich, where he worked for 22

years and became the head machinist at the Royal theatre. He is

known for his revolving stage, sometimes called the Lautenschlger

stage, which later acquired the legacy of being called the

new Shakespeare stage. The stage was installed at the Residenz

Theatre for a performance of Don Giovanni, an opera byWolfgang

Mozart. The revolve at the Residenz Theatre was fifty feet in

diameter and was raised slightly off of the regular stage floor. With

the proscenium a little less than a fourth of the revolve was visible

to the audience. Lautenschlger used electricity to power the

turntable, with the table turning on rollers, which run on a circular

track. This particular revolve was split into quarter sections and

allowed four scenes to be set at the top of the show. The rotating

stage allowed for depth, like landscapes with views in the distance

and more three-dimensional set in front of the walls of the revolve.

For theatres like the Dresden, that did not have an underside to

their stage, each sector of the revolve would have wo wheels

operating directly on the stage floor and propelled by a small motor

fixed to the underside of the turntable. Some revolves had only two

separate sections while some had as many as seven. Not all sections

had to be split into equal proportions. Sections could be very shallow

or very deep according to what the scene required. Rectangle

sections were even used many times for indoor scenes. Some

revolves had sections that connected to each other to give the

appearance of travel and help give the set perspective. Eventually

traps, elevators and rotating stages combined in some theatres. The

individual sections of the turntable could be lowered and raised to

and from the underneath the stage to make scene changes even

more efficient.

In 1889 the Munich court theatre hired Lautenschlger to design a

stage that was more efficient for Shakespeare productions. His

rotating stage seemed to be the perfect solution to Shakespeare.

Other theatres and other companies performing Shakespeare

quickly began to use the rotating stage and it started to become

known as the new Shakespeare stage. This was probably the biggest

role for the rotating stage in its history.

1. As a designer lays out the taverns, houses, and cobblestone

streets to have sectioned off on the circular set, he could

imagine an actor walking from one location to the next as a

part of the scene. Some directors even employed the rotation

of the stage with a purposeful view from the audience allowing

them to see the characters walk from one setting to the next.

2. The sectioned design created interesting wall structures to

build usually costly sets on. The structure provided for much

more interesting scenic designs, especially when concerning

the outdoor hills and mountains. The angled frames of the

structures or tall rolling hills.

3. Time was the biggest problem solved by the revolving stage.

There was a particular problem with Shakespearean plays that

required so many changes of scenery that some runs were as

long as one could imagine a 20-act play would be. The scene

changes were a fraction of the length before. It only took the

time to rotate a 1/4 or even a 1/6 way around the circular

stage.

1. Angled walls often provided a problem. It was impossible, as a

scenic designer, to incorporate a horizon of anything on stage

because there was no such back wall to support the

perspective of it.

2. The height of certain sets in certain sections proved to be an

issue as well. When large buildings or tall constructions of the

inside of a house were built in one section, they generally

exceeded the length of the framing walls. When the stage

spun, the audience could then see the buildings in other

scenes. This would offset other places such as the inside of a

house or a wide-open field.

3. The vibrations from the early designs of the mechanical

revolving stage were off-putting in an auditorium.

Present-Day Use

Today rotating stages are still in use. ''Les Misrables'' is probably

one of the most notable modern uses of a rotating stage. It was

recorded to have made sixty-three rotations each performance

during its original run in London. It is common practice to reverse

the rotation of a rotating stage as frequently as possible to prevent

cables from becoming twisted, and eventually breaking.

The moment of inertia of a thin circular disk is the same as that for a solid

cylinderof any length, but it deserves special consideration because it is often used

as an element for building up the moment of inertia expression for other

geometries, such as the sphere or the cylinder about an end diameter. The moment

of inertia about a diameter is the classic example of the perpendicular axis

theorem For a planar object:

Angular momentum is the product of an object's moment of inertia (its rotational mass) and its

angular velocity. Angular momentum is a vector quantity represented by the variable, L.

L = I

The units for angular momentum are: (kg m2)(radians/sec) = kg m2/sec. Note that although the

angular velocity must be expressed in radians/sec, the term radian is dropped when expressing the

units for its angular momentum. Remember that = 2f. This expression was first introduced when

we studied the sinusoidal equations forSHM.

The vector nature of L is determined by the right hand rule (RHR). When your fingers curl in the

direction of the object's angular velocity, your thumb points in the direction of the object's angular

momentum. Examining the rotating masses illustrated in the diagrams below, the sphere, disk and

cylinder have angular velocities producing angular momentum vectors pointing along the positive yaxis. The angular velocity of the thin ring results in its angular momentum pointing along the positive

x-axis.

solid spheres

I = 2/5 mr2

I = 1/2 mr2

I = mr2

Point Masses

Often we are required to determine the angular momentum of a point mass. A few examples of point

masses would be: (1) a speck of dust on a spinning CD's surface; (2) a stopper moving in a circle at

the end of a string; (3) a planet or asteroid moving in circular orbit about the sun. As you can see, a

point mass comes in many sizes. The term applies to the fact that all of an object's mass is

constrained to a small radius in comparison to the radius of its circular motion or from the pivot point

of the system. That is, it can easily be represented by a single concentration of mass at the object's

center of mass.

The moment of inertia for a point mass traveling in a circle is I = mr2 and the instantaneous tangential

velocity of a point mass, v, equals r. This relationship between angular and linear velocities can be

understood by imagining a rotating platform.

All points on the platform share the same angular velocity (they all pass through the same angular

displacement in a stated interval of time), but each one has a unique linear, or tangential, velocity

based on how far it is located from the axis of rotation - that is, how large a circumference it must

travel through during each revolution. For the three horse figurines shown above, the figurine closest

to the central axis would have the least tangential velocity since the fraction of its circumference that it

travels during the 1/6th cycle shown is the shortest.

We will now derive an alternative expression for the moment of inertia of a point mass.

NOTE: r in these equations represents the radial distance from the axis of rotation to the center of

mass of the point mass. It does NOT represent the radius of the point mass. Remember, as discussed

earlier in this lesson, that a point mass, by definition, is an object whose "internal radius" is very, very

small in comparision with the radius of the circle through which it is moving.

L = (mr2)(v/r)

Lpoint mass = mvr

NOTE: this expression is the cross product of the object's radial distance, r, and its linear

momentum, mv, L = r mv. That is, the angular momentum of a point mass equals the product of the

magnitude of its moment arm - the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the momentum

(instantaneous velocity vector) to the central pivot or axis of rotation - times the magnitude of its linear

momentum.

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