So this is from a few years ago, but I haven’t come across it until now. Doc Manning, one of the former props masters at Actors Theatre of Louisville, talks about some of their trickier props from a new show called Slasher! It’s a show filled with homemade bombs, actresses on meathooks and bathtubs full of blood, so you know it must have been a challenge for the props department.
Hard to believe it’s almost December. Hope you enjoy today’s links!
“How to be a Retronaut” always has great vintage images. I like these recent photos of Anita Louise as “Queen Titania” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, circa 1935.
The Actors Theatre of Louisville is looking for an artisan/soft goods person for their upcoming Humana Festival (January through March). I worked there a few years back; the people are great, the shop is amazing and you get to do some quality work for really good theatre. Even the housing they put you up in is nice. All in all, Louisville is not a bad place to spend a few months. Also, this year’s SETC conference is in Louisville, so you’ll be in town for that (as will I).
Make Magazine has a holiday gift guide for woodworkers, but it’s kind of hit or miss. A $260 hammer? Orthopedic chisels? Personally, I don’t think novelty tools make good gifts for people who make things.
Vintage theatre footlights are needed every now and then, but they can be difficult to find. Ebay has one or two on occasion, but one frequently needs a number of matching ones. Costume Armour, Inc., makes a number of fiberglass and vacuum formed lights, and because they get a lot of requests for their footlights, they have set up a new webpage devoted to the standard sizes and shapes they offer, along with pricing.
Okay, so it’s still a few days until winter, but the sudden temperature drop makes it feel like it’s already here. I am driving down to North Carolina today; enjoy these links and websites in the meantime.
Stage Directions magazine shows how props artisan Jay Tollefsen improved the “baby-in-a-bag” trick for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s annual production of Dracula in this article titled, “Baby’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture has compiled a nice tutorial with lots of helpful hints on casting small resin pieces in silicone molds.
This fascinating post looks at the history of imagined books as props in theatre. One example is the first use of a prop book in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in which the script mentions Prospero’s book; what would they have used as a prop in those earliest of performances. The article talks about far more; like I said, it’s pretty fascinating.
The Educational Theatre Association has a nice how-to on adding texture to hard scenery; it’s great for using on props as well.
By 1974, the EPA had produced over 80,000 photographs showing how America interacted with the environment. The National Archives has begun making them online, and the Atlantic has posted a fine selection of some of these slice-of-life images of America in the 1970s.
Future Fossils is a collection of technological items from the near-past, such as 8mm cameras and Atari joysticks, which have been molded and cast in concrete so they look like archaeological relics from bygone days. You can buy them as well, but really, I just thought they looked cool.
I had the pleasure of working at the Actors Theatre of Louisville back in 2006-7. This time of year, they begin working on the Humana Festival, a festival of new plays. It’s a hectic time for the props shop, with six new plays, three short plays, and apprentice scenes all being fully produced within two or three months. That’s a lot of props.
This year, Mark Walston, the props supervisor at ATL, is writing a blog during this process. It looks pretty interesting so far, and really gives a good inside look at life in the props shop at one of America’s great regional theatres.
I’ve linked to Mark’s Flickr stream of photos from the production studio a while back, which gives another great look behind the scenes at ATL.
Mark Walston, the props master at Actors Theatre of Louisville, has a comprehensive and continually updated Flickr stream of photos from the props and scene shop at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
I had the pleasure of working with Mark and the others there for a few months. It’s a great shop, and an amazing storage space. The giant train seat in the center of the photograph above is one of the pieces I built.
I have some more pictures after the break: