Shakespeare’s Movables

Over at the Popular Woodworking blog, Megan Fitzpatrick has an interesting post about joint stools in Shakespeare.

I’ve been reading a bit of Shakespeare lately (everyone should have a hobby, no?), and in several of his plays, the term “joint stool” appears, often in the service of a taunt. That’s piqued my interest in “moveables,” that is, early modern stuff such as furniture that shows up in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. (I’m hoping there’s a dissertation somewhere therein.)

I’m sure there’s a dissertation there; maybe there already is one. We seldom think of props in a scholarly manner; most of us work in props because we like building and/or searching for things. We know props are more than objects; they describe the characters, and add detail to the world on stage.

Perhaps the most popular book which delves more into the “why” of props, rather than the “how”, is The Stage Life of Props, by Andrew Sofer. I’ll admit it; I’ve only read small parts of it. I’ll have to find time for it before this year’s SETC Theater Symposium in April. The symposium is focusing entirely on props, and Mr. Sofer is one of the keynote speakers.

I’ll be presenting a paper called, “Devising a Mental Process for Approaching a Prop”. It should be interesting to hear the other papers. Be sure to check back here in April for my coverage of the Symposium.