Rehearsal Notes: Chair

© Michelle Dias

Day 1
May we please have a stool?

Day 2
Thanks for the stool. May we please have a taller stool?

Day 3
Thanks for the taller stool. The director has requested a bench instead.

Day 4
Regarding the bench, would it be possible to put arms and a back on it?

Day 5
Thanks for the sofa. Although the designer would prefer it, the director feels strongly about having the bench back, and altered as requested.

Day 6
After meeting last night with the designer, the director has reconsidered the altered bench and would like to see the sofa again. We appreciate the overtime you put into the bench and apologize for the change.

Day 7
Can we please see all the chaise lounges you have in stock?

Day 8
Thanks for bringing up the chaises. The director has decided to stay with the sofa. Would it be possible to shorten it? To about loveseat size?

Day 9
The director doesn’t care for the style of the loveseat you brought in. We will ask him to discuss it with the designer. Meanwhile, can we pursue our request to have the sofa shortened?

Day 10
Thanks for shortening the sofa. Unfortunately we’ve now found the arms are too low on this one and would like to see all the other sofas and loveseats you have in stock.

Day 11
Can we please have all the sofas and loveseats removed from the rehearsal hall before 10am? The director and designer have met and have decided to try an armchair.

Day 12
Thanks for the armchair. Do you have one with a taller back?

Day 13
Although very nice, the wingback is too tall. Is there an armchair in stock with a back that’s shorter than the wingback but taller than the first armchair?

Day 14
Thanks for the Barcalounger. Wrong style unfortunately, but fun. May we keep it in the Stage Management office? Can we please try again with another armchair?

Day 15
The director loves the new armchair. Thank you.

Day 16
Regarding your note about the designer requesting new fabric for the armchair: we can free up the chair after rehearsal today. It would be great to have it back tomorrow. Is one night enough time for the re-upholstery?

Day 17
After rehearsing with a dining room chair today, the director feels he would like to use that instead of the armchair. Sorry! Hope you didn’t stay too late last night!

Day 18
Do you have another dining room chair that closely matches the one we have, but without arms and with a different fabric? And perhaps a slightly taller back?

Day 19
Thanks for the selection of dining room chairs. If we wanted to use a full set of six, would it be possible to recover the seats before tomorrow’s dry run?

Day 20
We have some news that will make you laugh. The director has decided that one of the plain black orchestra chairs will be perfect. We had one in the rehearsal hall. Thanks and have a great day.

Day 21
Re: the table…

The above was written by Michelle Dias, who passed in 2011. There is a scholarship given in her name if you are interested in knowing more. Thanks to Cindi Zuby for sending this to me and Michelle’s family for allowing me to post it.

First Links of September

I love that Oregon Live has put together a list of 10 Must-See Props at the 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival. From wedding cakes to bears, you can learn how the OSF prop shop made it all happen.

Kamui Cosplay has a great video tutorial on adding animated LEDs to your prop. Making your LEDs pulse and chase really bumps up the wow-factor compared to static on/off lights.

Did You Know The Props On ‘Melrose Place’ Were Covert Works Of Art With Coded Meanings? I don’t know what else to say about this article other than repeating the title. Apparently an art exhibition showcasing these works of conceptual art is now running in NYC.

Did you know that new overtime rules for workers in the US are going into effect in December? American Theatre tackles how this may affect theatres, particularly non-profits. All of us should be aware of the rules and regulations that govern our wages, particularly since theatre and small films are so rife with infractions. A combination of ignorance, lack of oversight, and the belief that we should “suffer for our art” keeps it from improving. My worry is that these new overtime rules will either be ignored or hand-waved away like so many other labor regulations that some theatres do not follow.

Review: Cast Like Magic

If you follow the world of cosplay props, you have probably run across the work of Folkenstal Armory. This Swiss cosplayer is known for her fantasy daggers and armor from games like Elder Scrolls and Skyrim.

She recently released an e-book, Cast like Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Making and Resin Casting. Only the original German edition is available in print.

She wrote this in response to the lack of books on silicone mold-making and resin casting. While it’s true you can find a variety of books that have a section on silicone molds and resin casting, none are solely devoted to the individual prop maker. And though you can find a plethora of tutorials online, most are for specific projects, and none give a comprehensive overview of the entire process like this book does.

Cast Like Magic covers one-part silicone molds, cut silicone molds, two-part silicone molds, brush on molds, and rotation casting. What really sets this book apart are the illustrated diagrams for each process giving a cut-away view of what is going on. Mold making and casting can be difficult processes to photograph because everything is happening inside or underneath the opaque material. Her diagrams give a clear picture of what we cannot see.

The photographs are bright, colorful, and extremely clear. The pictures of her own work are especially wonderful, giving an up close view of all the exquisite detail she adds.

Cast Like Magic has chapters on mold boxes and registration keys as well, two topics which are frequently glossed over in discussions on mold making.

A good chunk of the beginning of the book is spent discussing materials used. Besides the various silicones and resins, she also discusses mold releases, thickeners and thinners. You also see various resin additives in action, from metal powders to UV colorants.

She uses Smooth-On products almost exclusively. At times, it almost feels like you are reading one of their catalogs. While they remain one of the more accessible suppliers for beginners, keep in mind that many other companies and products exist.

This is a very well-informed book, providing proper safety precautions where necessary and giving just the right amount of technical information.

So if you’ve been waiting to take the plunge into silicone mold-making and resin casting, this book will help you make sense of the whole thing. If you have already made a few molds and casts, this book will fill in the gaps of your knowledge and show you a few new tips and tricks. At only $8.50, it’s a heck of a deal, too.

Cast Like Magic by Folkenstal
Cast Like Magic by Folkenstal

Props for the Weekend

Center Theatre Group highlights their prop master, Andrew Thiels, in one of their latest blog posts. He talks about his favorite props from his 14-year career and what his job entails.

Shreveport has their very own movie prop maker with Jim Hayes, owner of LA House of Props. He has built props for films such as True BloodAustin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeArmageddon, and so many more. It’s worth fighting the popup ads to view the massive photo gallery of his work.

With the Harry Potter movies turning 15 this year, the Evening Standard sits down with the films’ prop maker, Pierre Bohanna. He talks about how the designs of all the fictional objects evolved from the pages of the book to the screen.

Finally, Bloomberg News takes us on a video tour of Creature Technology, the Australian animatronic company building life-size moving dinosaurs for live performance. There’s nothing really to say here, except “can I get a job there?” and “can you move your shop to Burlington, North Carolina?”.

The Stage Hands’ Story, 1903

The following comes from the May 3, 1903 issue of The St. Paul Globe:

When the curtain drops at the close of every act of a drama or opera it is the signal for the players to rush for their dressing rooms, some of the men in the audience to troop up the aisles in search of—a change of air, and the women to chat and—possibly to note what the other women are wearing.

But there is another class of individuals for whom the falling of the curtain means business, and the liveliest kind of business at that. They are the “stage hands.”

As the curtain strikes the floor a stentorian voice cries:

“Strike!”

“Strike!” echoes another equally robust voice, and instantly there is a commotion on that stage that would bewilder a bystander, if he were permitted there at such a time—which he is not.

The first voice is that of the stage manager of the company playing at the theater. The second is that of the stage carpenter attached to the house. The commotion is the scurrying about of the stage hands, the property men and the electricians whose duty it is to clear the stage with the greatest possible celerity of all scenery, furniture and lighting paraphernalia that encumbers it. For perhaps the first act presented a street in a large city or the parlor of a rich man’s mansion, and the second is to picture a country lane or the wretched hovel of the poor but virtuous. Hence this bustle.

James Robertson
James Robertson

Continue reading The Stage Hands’ Story, 1903

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