Proper Care and Feeding of Your Raptors
The Enron raptor masks were originally designed by Anthony Ward. They are custom-built masks assembled by the production team of the Generic Theater. They were molded by Costume Armor Inc. of NYC (costumearmor.com) from their original molds for the Broadway production of Enron. The molded pieces were assembled by Margaret Cheney in Norfolk VA, painted by Ginny Diezel of Virginia Beach VA, and wired for electronics by Matt Friedman of Virginia Beach VA.
We request that credits be placed for as many of the above as space permits; the credits above are in decreasing order of importance (so if there’s no space, then omit the last credit in the paragraph above, and so on).
We recommend having dressers and/or stagehands help actors put them on and remove, and practice the procedure; they are very difficult to do by yourself.
The procedure for mounting them is:
- Remove the jaw
- Affix top of mask to actor’s head
- Gently position jaw, lining up the holes at the pivot point
- Slide the bolt into place and screw in to hold. Don’t overtighten.
The actor’s chin or bottom jaw should be in contact with the foam of the bottom jaw so they can simply open and close their mouth to make the jaws open and close.
The bolts which fasten the jaw to the head are very easy to drop, and when dropped, the custom color-matched bolt-heads can break off of the bolt. Handle the bolts carefully and store them strategically with the masks.
If you drop a bolt and the color piece breaks off the bolt head, you can rebuild it using modeling plastic/modeling clay from a craft store and painting it to match.
Keep spare bolts near the masks in case you misplace one during a performance and need an emergency replacement. The bolts are just standard 2″ bolts from a hardware store; the threads are about 1/4″ but test to make sure of these length/width numbers, we may be remembering it wrong.
The jaw hinges are lined on either side with metal washers for easy rotation. From time to time one may fall off; replace with one of similar size or re-mount the one that fell off with epoxy. Polish them or wax them if you want to smooth out the contact point.
Each mask takes 4 AA batteries. Depending on usage, they can last several performances. Keep a battery tester nearby to check before each show.
Switches are in the depression behind the right eye. They are small and must be treated gingerly so they don’t get broken or pulled out of their mount. Practice switching on and off gently.
Masks were tailored to fit actors in our production; expect to make some modest modifications. For proper fitting, each mask should be assigned to a performer and not swapped around.
Please avoid making heavy modifications to the existing foam, especially the foam up inside the top of the head, which also helps secure the wiring. Adding foam or other padding is the best way to make an adjustment.
Permitted modifications are:
- Very slight cutting away of foam which is too bulky
- Using hot glue to add pieces of foam or other preferred padding to the existing foam
We mostly used foam from swimming-pool noodles, which are unbelievably cheap and nicely curved. You could use more traditional, softer upholstery foams or other padding as long as it won’t make it too difficult for future productions to alter or remove.
Visibility is seriously curtailed for actors wearing the masks, particularly with the black sheer over their faces. Avoid going up and down stairs or moving a lot on different levels or around obstacles, except where exhaustive practice and training have taken place.
Entrances and exits in dim lighting should be guided by other actors or stagehands as if leading someone visually-impaired. (This can be justified by the action; in our production Fastow led the Raptors affectionately offstage hand in hand like a line of ducklings.)
Any curtains at an entrance or exit should be manned by stagehands to pull aside any curtains so Raptors don’t get caught on them.
We encourage productions to do drills on “how to fall” if they lose their balance while wearing a mask, so that they fall to the side rather than forward, preventing damage and injury.
Questions or Special Requests
If you have questions about usage or requests to make alterations/improvements, please contact Matt Friedman at 757-681-3092 or Jeannette Rainey at 757-714-2343.