Properties

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers Offers Some Advice

BY MICHAEL EDDYvia www.stage-directions.com Last month, the members of The Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M) were asked for what advice they would give a new Props Master/Manager or a new Properties Artisan. The membership sent in almost 100 pieces of advice and S*P*A*M has posted the first list, for Properties Artisans. Be sure to let us, and S*P*A*M, know if they missed anything. If I Only Knew… Artisan EditionThis list was created by the Members of the Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M). The numbers are just because the compiler of the list likes numbers; they are not values or rankings. 1. Don’t make 10 of something, make 1/2 of one, get feedback, then finish the first one, get more feedback, then make the last 9. 2. Ask how it’s being used before sta...

PROPS HOW-TO: DINER STOOLS

BY ERIC HARTvia www. props-eric.hart.com Earlier this year, I was the props master on August Wilson’s Two Trains Running at Triad Stage. The set, designed by Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay, was a Pittsburgh diner in 1969. Among the various components were thirteen matching diner stools, the kind that spin and are bolted to the floor. It proved impossible to source that many stools within our budget, so I decided to build them. I designed the main support in two parts: an inner post made of steel that would hold the seat and be bolted to the floor, and an outer post that would sleeve over and appear to be chrome. I welded the inner post out of box tube and quarter-inch plate. I added a small length of pipe to the top so the seat could spin freely. I cut the outer posts out of PVC p...

The Fake Food Cookbook

BY JAY DUCKWORTH via www.stage-directions.com We are at that time of gift- giving, when we give things to people that we hope they will need and use. One ofthe gifts I received this summer and have used [Really, I did, see this month’s Answer Box] was a book thatTammy Honesty brought out to NYC on her last visit. The Fake Food Cookbook: Props You Can’t Eat for Theatre, Film, and TV created by Karestin Harrison and Tamara L. Honesty from Focal Press is a great new resource. I spoke with the authors to learn how the book came into existence. Turns out when Karestin was the props person on the musical Spitfire Grill, and as the title suggests it takes place in a small restaurant she had a lot of breakfast food to make. Despite the many challenges that fake food poses she fell in love with the...

Head Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna Talks ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’

via www.theknockturnal.com To celebrate the final trailer for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Warner Bros. hosted an epic fan event in New York City on Monday, September 24. After getting all of the scoop on the costumes from Colleeen Atwood, we headed to the other side of 38 Parlor Loft to The Wand Room. Here all of the key wands were on display and Head Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna gave us some insight into his work on the film: The Knockturnal: Did you work on the last film as well? Pierre Bohanna: I did, yes! Luckily, I did the last film. We also did all of the Potter films as well. The Knockturnal: So you’ve been doing this for years? Pierre Bohanna: Yes.  Somehow I’ve made a career out of it. The Knockturnal: That’s incredible. And so tell me about the vision for the part...

USITT19 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION – NOW OPEN!

Registration Info More than 300 exhibitors will span across 43,000 square feet of Stage Expo floor demonstrating new products, speaking with attendees, and displaying the industry’s latest and greatest. Four days of technical theatre and live entertainment innovation under one roof makes for an technical theatre industry lover’s dream 5,000 + attendees will take part in over 200 sessions and educational opportunities providing credits, knowledge, and new tips and tricks USITT Conference We’ve been waiting for you! USITT19 is an extravaganza of technical theatre wonder. The industry’s top companies collide with attendees providing a hub for innovation, new technology, education, and networking. The Stage Expo floor delivers a show like no other while over 200 educational sessions and hands-...

Props Fabricator: Fur, Foam & Focus

BY: MICHAEL EDDY via www.stage-directions.com In The Shop with Props Fabricator Zoë Morsette Zoë Morsette knew at an early age that she wanted to work in the theater. Inspired by a childhood filled with art and summer theater on Cape Cod where she grew up, Morsette completed her BA in theater and dance at Skidmore College in 1973 and then moved to NYC. She worked as a milliner at Radio City Music Hall for two years and then as a shop supervisor and fabricator in the display industry for five years. Freelance since 1984, Morsette has built props, models, costumes, and puppets for 51 Broadway productions, dozens of commercials and print ads, feature films, television shows, theme parks, ice shows, ballets, operas, and the Macy’s Parade. Morsette spoke with Stage Directions to discuss her wor...

A Day in the Life of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Head of Props

BY KATE YOUDE  via www.inews.co.uk It’s a little bit like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get,” says Alan Smith of his job. A pig’s head takes pride of place on one of the cluttered benches in his dark workshop, while a hound’s skull peers down from a shelf. Both are fibreglass – for Smith is head of costume props, footwear and armoury at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he brings designers’ artistic visions to life. He made Captain Hook’s hook for Wendy & Peter Pan and Miss Trunchbull’s prosthetic body for the original production of Matilda the Musical. A gold lamé bondage suit sticks in his mind, although he can no longer remember the show it was for. “I’ve done some very strange things,” he admits. Recent project...

How -To: Benches from ‘Beautiful Star’

BY ERIC HART via http://www.props.eric-hart.com A few months ago, Triad Stage put on their Christmas show, Beautiful Star. Though it was a remount, it had some major design changes this year. For the props shop, we needed to build six church benches that could be rearranged throughout the show to create various “locations.” For the quatrefoil cut-out, I laid out the pattern with a compass and cut it with a jigsaw. I sanded it smooth using a sanding drum that was nearly the same diameter as the individual circles in the pattern. Cutting the quatrefoils I took the time to make one of the quatrefoils as perfect as possible, and then used a pattern cutting bit on my router to cut the rest of the side panels. I needed twelve panels for the six benches I was making. So many panels The team wante...

Props from Hamilton & More Featured Up Close in New Exhibit

BY RUTHIE FIERBERG via www.playbill.com Pieces by the Public Theater’s Jay Duckworth and other prop masters will be on display in the new exhibit Props and Fine Art From Movies, Television & Theatre at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, opening in March. A hero prop is any item meant to be used by a show’s leading actor. That could be a letter, like the one Phillipa Soo burned in Hamilton, or Shylock’s money box, like the one Al Pacino held in The Merchant of Venice (both featured in the exhibit). Props are the object you don’t think about—and aren’t supposed to. “I’m sure you have seen my team’s work before, but I hope that you have never noticed it,” says Duckworth. “Unfortunately, that is the goal for a props master is to be so seamless our work only catches the eye whe...

Don’t Glue Anything! ….Unless You Have This Handy Chart

via www.makezine.com For years I wondered why all my beautiful small-scale models kept falling apart. I underestimated the most important factor: adhesive. You can glue almost everything with super glue — but some materials just won’t stay together. Is it possible to glue rubber to glass? Will plastic stick to wood? Once you mix several different materials, it can get really confusing. For those moments it’s convenient to have a handy table that gives a quick overview. View Original Article

How to Make Breakaway Glass with Isomalt

BY ERIC HART via http://www.props.eric-hart.com Now that the holidays have passed, I am back to posting companion videos for my upcoming book, The Prop Effects Guidebook. The latest is on how to make a breakaway glass using isomalt. Isomalt has a lot of advantages over cane sugar, and it is not much more expensive. Most of the work in this video was done by my assistant at the time, Lisa Bledsoe. We needed a breakable whiskey glass for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, so she made a mold of a real glass and figured all of this stuff out. I bought the isomalt from Make Your Own Molds, which also has some great tutorials to help you get started with making breakaway glass. I will be releasing more of these companion videos as we draw closer to the book’s release. You can watch all of them on YouTube. T...

How The ‘STRANGER THINGS’ Upside Down Tunnel Drawings Came to Life

BY: MATT PATCHES via www.thrillist.com A mosaic of psychically illustrated drawings depicting the interdimensional tunnels under a small, Indiana town doesn’t just crayon itself into existence, you know. Someone has to draw it. In Stranger Things 2, that someone is Will Byers. While obsessives of the Netlfix series are eagerly awaiting Stranger Things Season 3 and some firm answers on what (or who?) the Mind Flayer really is, why it’s obsessed with the nerdy kid, or what its master plan for our Earthly plane will be, one thing they did learn in the series’ second installment is that when a shadowy monster gets in a person’s head, the host becomes a prolific, Crayola-wielding Willem de Kooning. Throughout Stranger Things 2, Will cranked out our first glimpse of the &...

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