Let There Be Links

Life Behind the Curtain—The Show Couldn’t Go On Without Them – Playbill has gathered the stories of 21 different folk who work behind-the-scenes on this year’s Tony-nominated productions. The range and variety of jobs in theatre is vast, which many high school and even college students do not realize. Not everyone needs to be a stage manager!

Assembling the Giants – Alliance Studio created some massive action figures based off the characters of Blizzard’s new game Overwatch as part of its promotion. The construction was mostly boring 3D printing, but the paint jobs were quite complex and cool.

Shop Hats for You & the Apprentice – If you wanted to reintroduce the tradition of making your apprentices and journeymen wear special paper hats, Chris Schwartz has dug up these authentic instructions and illustrations showing how to make your own.

Tool Storage for the Rest of Us – “All drawers eventually become junk drawers.” Wise words from Popular Woodworking Magazine, which gives us some tips and tricks on creating wall-mounted tool storage so you can see everything you got.

Behind the Scenes of Aida, 1880

I came across these illustrations giving a backstage look at the opera Aïda. It is a French production from 1880. Even though it is over 135 years ago, some things still look the same.

The Egyptian Warriors at rest
The Egyptian Warriors at rest.
Orchestra reinforcement.
Orchestra reinforcement.
The final duet.
The final duet.
The big parade.
The big parade.

Originally from: Aïda, vue des coulisses de l’Opéra. (L’illustration, v.76, Oct. 30, 1880, p. 283-286; illus. on p. 292.)

First Links of June

First up, Mashable takes a peek into the props shop at Pinewood Film Studios, the UK studio where the new Star Wars films are being made. They show the process for making some of the film’s iconic props, like Darth Vader’s melted helmet and Kylo Ren’s lightsaber hilt. The process is a bit more high-tech than your typical props shop.

Darin Kuehler, props master at the Omaha Community Playhouse, needed to make some animatronic dancing pigeons for their production of The Producers. Find out how he went from prototyping to final design.

Tony Nominee David Korins shares 10 secrets of the Hamilton set. He talks a bit about the props too, because really, what’s a set without props?

J. Kent decided he needed a life-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, so he built one out of paper-mache. Check out pictures of the five-foot long piece that took over 500 hours to build.

Make Magazine discovers David Neat and his amazing model-making blog. I’ve linked to many of his posts before, but if you haven’t seen this blog yet, you’re in for a treat. He covers a lot of the same materials and methods we use in props in exquisite detail.

A Stage Banquet, 1884

The following is the third part of an article which appeared in an 1884 issue of the Bismarck Weekly Tribune. The first part and second part were posted previously:

“Stage banquets, suppers and meals of all kinds often put the ingenuity of the property man to a severe test. If the manager is economical the most elegant banquets are but hollow mockeries. The turkeys and chickens, which seem to spectators to be roasted to such a delicious degree of brownness, are only brown holland stuffed with sawdust. The wines are cold tea or water colored with burnt sugar. Sometimes they are drunk from pasteboard goblets and then they are purely imaginary. Do you remember Dickens’ description of how Mr. Crummles used to take long draughts of nothing out of the pasteboard goblets in banquet scenes?”

“Yet in these banquet scenes the people eat something?”

“Oh, yes. It is essential to the action that they shall eat. There is always a plate of bread and one of cold meat. They look at the elegant turkeys, chickens, etc, and eat the bread and meat. If the manager is liberal, however, a stage banquet is sometimes a meal at which no epicure would turn up his nose. This is always the case under Lester Wallack’s management. He gives his companies splendid suppers and real champagne. Poor Matilda Heron always did so, too, when she played Camille, and Albina de Mer, the wife of M. B. Curtis revived this good old custom in the same play when she starred it last season, presenting a bill of fare which included oysters, raw and fried, roast turkey, chicken salad and real wines.”

“The Property Man”, The Bismarck Weekly Tribune, Oct 31, 1884, pg 2. Reprinted from The Philadelphia Times.

Original Romeo and Juliet Props Found

If you’re a Shakespeare buff or just interested in theatrical history, you may be aware that archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology are currently excavating the Curtain Theatre. The Curtain is one of the earlier theatres used by Shakespeare, and its well-preserved remains are filling in a lot of gaps about our knowledge of Elizabethan theatre. It has already yielded some surprises: the stage is rectangular, not circular as previously supposed. And last week, you probably saw the news articles exclaiming that props from the original Romeo and Juliet were unearthed. Is this true? Or rather, how likely is this?

Bone comb found at Curtain Theatre, (C) MOLA
Bone comb found at Curtain Theatre, (C) MOLA

Continue reading Original Romeo and Juliet Props Found

Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies