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Bamboo and bikini wax

posted by Karen McKevitt on Wed, Nov 7, 2012
in Our shows , Scene shop

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The White Snake, Mary Zimmerman's seventh show here at Berkeley Rep, begins this Friday. (Hint: good low-priced preview seats are available on Friday and Tuesday. Click here to check it out.)

To celebrate, Scenic Charge Artist Lisa Lazar shares a fun tip about prepping some scenery for the show. Take it away, Lisa!

I have been tending to the scenery for our upcoming production of The White Snake. This show is a co-production with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and we're using their scenery, costumes, and props. 


When scenery is moved between theatres, there is the potential for damage, which we have to repair before the show goes in front of an audience. This particular show features large imposing bamboo walls, and sadly the bamboo took a bit of a beating before it arrived in Berkeley. Since the paint is very transparent, it's actually simpler to strip it off and repaint damaged areas.


We tried a variety of paint-removal methods, including chemical solvents and abrasion, before eventually deciding on an effective and amusing technique for removing the unwanted paint. This was a technique I had developed years ago, while trying to strip paint off of opera scenery. At that time, we needed to strip away large areas of paint, but couldn’t use chemicals and couldn’t produce any dust. 

So how did we get the paint off?  


Bikini waxing.


That’s right: Bikini waxing. We applied strips of masking tape to the tops of the painted bamboo, and burnished the tape so that it sticks firmly. And then we ripped the paint right off. It’s quick, tidy, and efficient. 

And it makes us all laugh, which is always important when working on a potentially tedious task.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the ever-changing world of scenic painting here at the Berkeley Rep.



I really appreciate that you’ve shared this information. This is really useful. And I had a great time reading this post. Thanks a lot for sharing such idea. I could surely use it.

jelly andrews | Wed, Jan 9, 2013

Oh! Brilliant! This is such a great idea. I am glad you shared this information. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Candy Smith | Sun, Mar 17, 2013

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