Plasma-Cutting Through The Jungle Book
Scenery Mechanic Jesse Washburn, slicing through the brush of the jungle with his handy plasma cutter
What helps the Huntington take a show built by our Chicagoan comrades and fit it into our own home-on-Huntington-Avenue?
What can eat through half-inch steel, spitting the sparks out like so many watermelon seeds?
What fourth state of matter exists in neon signs, stars, and the Huntington Theatre Company's metal-fabrication shop? The answer to all three of these questions is plasma.
Here's our very own Scenery Mechanic, Jesse Washburn, using a plasma cutter to slice through half-inch steel and build a part for one of The Jungle Book's scenic effects. The plasma cutter uses an electrical arc and compressed air to generate a narrow stream of super-heated gas (plasma) hot enough to melt metal and fast-moving enough to blow the molten metal out of the cut.
That is what makes the plasma-cutter work. What makes Jesse work is 10 years of experience as a theatre technician, eight seasons with the Huntington, and a serious appreciation for ice cream.