The music builds as Jay-Z, Mötley Crüe, Alice in Chains or OneRepublic open a concert with the backlit band playing behind a Kabuki drape—which suddenly drops to reveal the band in sharp detail. “The Kabuki effect is great,” says Zito, production manager for OneRepublic. “The band’s first song is behind the drape, all backlit; it’s awesome.” The effect, developed by Rent What? Inc., Rancho Dominguez, Calif., is achieved by attaching a series of small solenoid boxes in a daisy chain, attaching a drape to the solenoids, then activating the solenoids to release the drape at a strategic moment. Sister company Sew What? Inc. produces custom draperies for theatrical and musical events, but productions can use existing drapes, as well as other items, such as flags or (in one case) 500 ping-pong balls.
The standard kit offers everything for a Kabuki drop on a stage from 12 to 80 feet wide and fits into a single case easy to ship or load on a production truck. “Set-up is simple right out of the box,” says Megan Duckett, founder and president of Rent What? Inc. “Crews are usually up and running with it before they notice the instruction sheet.” Stage drapes are flame retardant, and pricing is by the square foot. Learn more.