Traveling and unpacking have kept me from delving deep into my own writing, but the internet still has plenty of interesting things for the props person.
“Sheepless” Magazine has a nice feature on Paper Mâché Monkey, the theatre design studio run by Grady Barker and Meghan Buchanan. They did some work on our Measure for Measure this summer. Before officially starting their company, they also took over the prop fabrication on Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Merchant of Venice when they moved from the Public to Broadway. It’s a well–put together article, and great to see them starting to get some attention.
I almost missed this the first time around, but Erich Friend highlighted some new fake candles on this Theatre Safety Blog. These were designed and patented by Disney Imagineers to go in the newly renovated Haunted Mansion. They look much more like real candles than previous versions, especially up close (at least, they do in the videos). I hope the price is right when they finally become available in the US.
This is the fourth excerpt from a chapter concerning prop-making in “Shakespeare for Community Players”, by Roy Mitchell. Be sure to check out the previous parts on weapons, tableware, and furniture.
Lanterns should be made of soft tin and riveted into shape. It is possible to buy lanterns, but it is more fun to make them.
Figure 17 shows some types of lanterns as well as torch-sticks. Floor candlesticks, which are universally useful for all types of interiors, may be made up of curtain-pole set on a foot or held erect with a tripod. A small tin pan makes an excellent drip-cup. A method of simulating massive candles is given in the chapter on lighting. Smaller candelabra may be of wooden lattice-work in a variety of forms, or of round wood held together with cross-bars (see Figures 14 and 18).
Another method is to make a grill out of wall-board reinforced with wooden battens. The best single candlestick is part of a baluster nailed to a square base. The candle goes in a hole bored in the top. A nail-point sticking up in the bottom of the orifice will give stability to the candle. If you have occasion to make or use Greek lamps, do not trouble with oil. Use tapers adjusted to last for the scene, or a bit of candle inset.
Figure 19 shows a lantern and a pole to be carried in lieu of torches. It is made of draughtsman’s linen stretched Chinese-lantern fashion on a wooden frame. The frame may be made of heavy iron wire if desired, and many beautiful forms achieved. The design may be applied in coloured ink such as draughtsmen use.