Ocala Civic Theatre Challenges Students to Create Blockbuster-Inspired Prop

Many of us have fond memories of the first time we saw Beauty and The Beast. We sat on the edge of our seats as the petals dropped, one by one from an enchanted rose, counting down the days for Beast—a once-human prince transformed by a spell—to find true love. A love that had to come before the last petal fell or he and his household staff would forever remain under the curse.

Nearly 30 years have passed since its release in late 1991, but we don’t expect it to fade away from the hearts and minds of viewers any time soon.

Fast forward to August 2020 – Ocala Civic Theatre (OCT) is bringing this iconic story to the stage this fall, giving much attention to the critical details that make this production so unique. The enchanted rose, ever blooming and glowing brightly within the forbidden West Wing of the castle is, without a doubt, the most essential prop on the list.

OCT’s Petal Drop Design Challenge is a creative competition open to all Marion County high school students. The challenge is to create the mechanics of the enchanted rose prop, a glowing rose that appears to float within a bell jar. Petals must fall individually from the rose at specific times throughout the show, in full view of the audience, yet with no visible assistance from actors or technicians.

Once registered, students are given design specifications with a precise range of dimensions and parameters to follow. Their submitted design must include a scale drawing and a description of the engineering required, their research and the operation process.

OCT Technical Director William Spratt thought the creation of this special effect would be an ideal challenge for Marion County high school students, as it brings together all five elements of the STEAM program: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

 “As a child I believed that anything was possible,” Spratt said. “Anything could be accomplished. Anything could be built. I had wild and fantastic ideas of how things could function and fit together. With this challenge I hope to inspire students to imagine and innovate new and interesting ways of making anything happen. I hope we help them understand that there is always a clever or creative way to accomplish their goals.”

The deadline to enter the Petal Drop Design Challenge is July 3rd. Registration forms, design guidelines, prize information and more can be found in the full packet online at www.ocalacivictheatre.com

 For additional information, email education@ocalacivictheatre.com.

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