On the final stop of our tour of Chicago theaters is the largest of all, the Goodman Theatre. The Goodman is the city’s oldest nonprofit theater, and Alice Maguire has been properties supervisor there for nearly thirty years.
Last week I attended the 25th conference for the Society of Properties Artisan Managers. It was hosted by a number of Chicago theaters this year, so I got to tour some of their spaces. First up is the facilities at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, located on the Navy Pier.
While at the 24th Annual Society of Properties Artisan Managers conference in Houston, we got a chance to tour the stage and warehouse of the Houston Grand Opera. On the first day, we visited the Wortham Theater Center, located in the heart of downtown Houston. Being an opera, the stage and seating are far larger than most of the theaters we work in.
I recently returned from the 24th annual Society of Properties Artisan Managers’ Conference. This year, it was held in Houston, and hosted by the Alley Theatre and Houston Grand Opera. As part of the conference, we were able to tour the prop storage of the Alley.
They have hand props and some commonly used items located in the basement of the theatre itself, located right in downtown Houston.
Last night I sent off the final manuscript for my next book, The Prop Effects Guidebook. It is all about making your props move, burn, sing, bleed, and break. When you combine it with The Prop Building Guidebook, you will have a pretty complete education as far as constructing props goes.
The book does not come out until March 2018, and we still have a lot of work to do in terms of copy-editing, layout, and proofing. But I wanted to share a few of the photographs I have taken specifically for the book just to give you a taste of what is coming.
I talk about a variety of fake fire effects you can use when your theater does not permit real flame.
I give an introduction to electrical components and wiring your own props, and provide a brief introduction to the world of Arduino and other microcontrollers.
What would a prop book be without talking about blood?
Lighting is probably one of the most common tricks a prop needs to do, so there is a thorough introduction to all sorts of tiny lights. I do not think any prop book has covered LEDs before, and I also touch on fancier lights like EL wire.
No matter how fancy theatrical foggers get, dry ice still gives me such a visceral thrill. It’s so simple and elemental, but so magical. This book touches on all the traditional tricks too, because you do not always need a high-tech solution, and you do not always have the budget for the latest gadgets.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies