The Seattle Children’s Theatre blog has a good post up about the props for A Tale of Two Cities. Edie Whitsett, the properties shop manager, describes the amount of historical research they did for the show. More interesting is how they used the research. Sometimes they went with the most historically accurate objects, but other times, they adapted it to better suit the needs of the production. Edie puts it best in the article:
You have to maintain a balance between historical accuracy, the desired visuals and the technical demands of the play.
There is also an earlier post which has great process shots as they build a fake corpse for Ophelia.