Tag Archives: christopher durang

Kitchen Banquette

Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them

Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” the world premiere of the new play by Christopher Durang, opened this past Monday at the Public Theatre in New York City. I’ve been a fan of Chris’s plays for years now, and had a great time when I saw it, even though I was solo for the night.

The reviews are in. You can see a round-up at Critic-O-Meter. Eric Reynolds, the assistant properties director at the Public Theatre, showed me that site. It collects all the reviews for shows currently running in New York City, and averages the critics’ responses into a single grade. The run has already been extended another 2 weeks.

Here are photographs of some of the larger props I built for this show and some notes on their construction. Continue reading

A bar for Why Torture is Wrong...

A bar for Torture

I recently finished building props for Why Torture is Wrong, And the People Who Love Them, at the Public Theatre. It’s the world premiere and is written by Christopher Durang.

A bar for Why Torture is Wrong...
A bar for Why Torture is Wrong...

One of the more complicated and interesting pieces I had to make was this bar. The top is kidney-shaped, and the whole base has an elliptical footprint.

Interior structure of the bar
Interior structure of the bar

You can get a better picture of the overall shape of the piece in the picture above. You can also see how I framed it out.

A closeup of the strips which run the length of the bar
A closeup of the strips which run the length of the bar

Above is a closeup of one of the three strips which run across the center of the bar. They stuck out an inch and a half, so I built up strips of wiggle-wood and lauan. I used lauan because it was cheaper than the wiggle-wood, and the front of the bar had a gentle enough curve for the lauan to handle.

If you’ve ever worked with wiggle-wood, you know that it leaves a rough surface. There are any number of ways to make it smooth, from covering it with some kind of laminate or veneer to coating it with some kind of filler. For this piece, Jay, the prop master, told me an easy recipe for a coating. I mixed about 4 parts of joint compound to about 1 part white glue, and added a touch of water until I got an easily spreadable consistency that wouldn’t drip or run. Joint compound can be sanded very smooth, and is easy to work with, but it tends to crack and flake off over time. The addition of the glue helps give it enough flexibility to keep that from happening.