(originally from The Young Woman’s Journal, 1921)
The Property Man
“Props”â€” provides, cares for, and places in proper position on the stage all furniture, draperies, lugs, carpets, lamps, telephone, letters, documents, etc. â€” in fact, all articles needed in the play except the personal properties of the actor. Things only used by a single actor â€” such as a fan, a cane, an eyeglass, a parasol, a handkerchief, a letter, if it remains with the one person and not given to another or is not left on the stage â€”Â these are personal “props.” A small table should be provided on either side of the stage for offstage “props,” such articles as are needed to be carried on stage, or for properties brought off stage. The property man should see that actors do not carry such “props” to their dressing rooms, but that they are left on the table provided. Stage drinks â€” which are made of grape juice, ginger-ale, or root beer, according to the color needed, are cared for and bought by “props” on order of the director countersigned by the business manager.
The property man should take an artistic pride in his stage picture and spend a good deal of time to secure, by renting or borrowing or making, the exact style of furniture and things needed for the play. A period play with modern furniture which one sees in stock performance is ludicrous. Charlie Millard, the veteran property man of the Salt Lake Theatre made all his properties and furnished the actors in Brigham Young’s time with even personal “props.” The stage manager furnishes “props” with a property plot containing a list of properties needed for each scene in the play.