A cube by any other name is a cube but this is a rehearsal cube.
They are used as stand-in props to help block out or act out a scene. There are endless combinations and with a little imagination, they go a long way. Stack up two cubes for a table. Use one as a chair. Put three of them together on the floor to make a bed. Turn one up so the open end is facing the audience to act as a TV set or cupboard. Use them as podiums or soapboxes to stand on. Stack three, two, then one to make a staircase or represent mountains. The possibilities are limitless.
Caitlin's gifted program at school has interaction with TADA! Youth Theater performing arts program which sends out a "consulting" team to help classes write, produce and perform their own original play or musical. TADA! does have a catchy theme song that grows on you, I must say. Her school is fortunate to be able to provide such enrichment to those fourth and fifth graders in their daily course of study.
I had volunteered to build six cubes to help with this year's production, a musical with "King Tut" as the theme. (No, Walking like an Egyptian is a pop culture thing). In researching what was needed I found that commercially built cubes or modular set pieces are quite expensive. Many other starving artists and production companies have always rigged a few up. There are these acting cubes but with my limited budget, frugalness and having volunteered to do this for the benefit of the kids, this is what I came up with.
I will add more pictures later if I can to show the cubes in use or abuse.
Disclaimer: Any references to brats, preteen monsters, or similar are meant in a loving way.
Really, these are the best bunch of kids in the world. They just need to be yelled at once in a while. That's entertainment.
**** updated September 2016
Be sure to check out the last step which is a build gallery of new rehearsal cubes built for the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics High School in Bronx, NY for their theatre arts program.
The requirement was to build six cubes each measuring 18" on the edge. Stacking 2 cubes gives about the right height for a table or counter. One cube is the right height for a chair or a few pushed together to make a bed.
I needed to design and build something that was strong enough to stand on and take the abuse of 8-10 year old ragamuffins aspiring actors. These cubes will be pushed, kicked and banged around on stage.
It was suggested to make the entire "apple crate" out of 3/4" thick plywood with additional 2x4 cleats to reinforce the structure. This would have been quite expensive in materials cost and the end product would have been quite heavy for kids to carry or move around. It would have to be made semi-indestructable but I knew I could do better. I had some scrap 1/2" plywood in the garage that I could use. I only needed to get some stick lumber to complete the project. I would use pocket-hole joinery to create some face frames to use in the sides of the cube and topped off with a sturdy plywood platform top face to stand or sit on. An additional cleat would reinforce the top from sagging.
For the supplies needed:
A whole bunch of various woodworking tools. The more power tools you have, the easier it will be to finish but you could still do things the old-fashioned way with just hand tools.