Category Archives: How-to

Guides to building props or using certain techniques and materials

The God of Carnage “Gag”

The God of Carnage “Gag”

Every so often, a new play hits the regional theatre circuit, and it seems that every prop master in the country is trying to solve the same problem. A few years back, that play was God of Carnage, and everyone was trying to make an actress projectile vomit on stage. l came across a few well-done videos showing how various theatres have solved this gag (no pun intended).

First up is Florida Repertory Theatre. Their TD at the time, Chris Simpson (now, coincidentally, the TD here at Triad) takes us on the backstage journey to show how it was done:

Next up is Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Props master and fellow SPAMmer Anna Goller works with TD Troy Brizius to make the vomit flow:

Finally, we have Tyler Axt at the Nashville Repertory Theatre showing how they made the vomit fly:

39 Steps chandelier

Making a Giant Chandelier

The set for 39 Steps at Triad Stage was reminiscent of an old vaudeville theatre. One of the focal points was a massive chandelier overhead. I knew we could never be able to afford to buy a five-foot diameter chandelier, and even if I could find one to rent or borrow, transporting it would be difficult. So I figured we would just spend the time making one.

39 Steps chandelier
39 Steps chandelier

The design of the chandelier made construction simple; it was just three rings with beads of crystals draped between them. I found rolls of garland with acrylic beads, which spared me from having to string them all individually. I took a lot of the individual crystals from another chandelier I had in stock. The arms came from an existing chandelier as well.

I put together a video showing the progression of the build. Though straightforward, it was a very time-consuming prop. Towards the end, I got help from Lisa Bledsoe and DeDe Farrell with attaching all the crystals and getting it wired.

No-Sew Pillow Video

No-Sew Pillow Video

I often neglect the fabric side of props on this blog, simply because it’s more challenging for me and I avoid fabric projects as much as possible. Of course, we props people need to develop all our skills, not just the ones we are interested in. So I’m sharing this video I found of a fabric project that even I can pull off: a no sew pillow. With just an iron, hem tape, an iron and a thrift store pillow, your set can have pillows that fit the design of whatever show you are doing.