Jay Duckworth gave a keynote speech at the 2017 USITT Conference in St. Louis. Jay is the props master at the Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park. In his address to the over 6,000 people in attendance, he talks about the “artist’s bug-out-bag”, filled with everything you need to head out for a career in the arts.
Looking past the actors — the technical feats of the Humana Festival – Insider Louisville takes a look at how the sets are built for Humana Festival to allow quick changeovers between shows. The Festival has seven shows being produced in three spaces and running in repertory; and they’re all brand-new works. I worked in the props shop for Humana Festival exactly ten years ago; it is quite the burst of activity.
The workers who make Broadway hum deserve a standing ovation – In honor of World Theatre Day this past Monday, NY Daily News published this article by Patricia White, president of Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 IATSE. She describes all the union jobs that make Broadway work, from ushers and ticket takers, to dressers and musicians.
Create Custom Screen Printing Designs at Home – Make Magazine has a great primer on screen printing. Sure, your computer printer can handle a lot of different materials, but screen printing is great when you need to get an image onto a piece of material too large for your printer. I’ve used it to make custom vinyl folding chairs.
Working With Transparent Worbla – Propnomicon shares this video on working with transparent Worbla. Like regular Worbla, it is a thermoplastic that softens at low temperatures so you can manipulate and shape it by hand.
I have recently been reading about the three different types of knowledge which a mastercraftsperson should possess (originally suggested by Nick Hunt and Susan Melrose 1 and applied to props by Eleanor Margolies 2). These include technical knowledge, emotional-affective knowledge, and interpersonal knowledge. At any moment during a props person’s day, they may have to use all three types to navigate a situation or solve a problem. Continue reading Three Types of Knowledge a Props Person Needs→
Hunt, Nick, and Susan Melrose. “Techne, Technology, Technician.” Performance Research 10.4 (2005): 70-82. Web. ↩
Why Puppets (and Puppeteers) Are Still Important – Smithsonian has a great article on the world of puppetry today, including a short interview with Basil Twist. The article has a plenitude of photos from the Smithsonian’s puppetry collection; if you are in Washington, DC, you can check it all out in person.
Inside Syfy’s Cosplay Melee Workshop – Syfy Channel has a new competition show called Cosplay Melee, where contestants build original costumes and props in an insane time crunch. Tested takes us inside the workshop they use, with a look at all the tools and materials they have access to.
The following comes from the preface of a book published in 1825. It discusses some of the actual relics from William Shakespeare’s life, and yes, it uses an alternative spelling for Shakespeare. Much of the talk centers around the first Shakespeare Jubilee, which was organized by actor David Garrick in 1769.
The most minute particulars relative to our great dramatist have a peculiar charm for his admirers; and anything, however insignificant, which time has hallowed with recollections of Shakspeare, becomes venerable from the force of association.
Some traditions affirm that Anne Hathaway, Shakspeare’s wife, was born at Shottery, a village in the vicinity of Stratford. The cottage where Anne’s family resided, still stands: some time ago, there was a bed in it, which attracted great notice; an old woman of seventy was the chief witness in its favour, she has slept in it from childhood, and had been invariably told that it was as antient as the house, consequently, Shakspeare might have slept in it. Large sums of money were repeatedly offered for this treasure; but in vain. Continue reading Shakspeare Relíques, 1825→
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies