Tag Archives: effects

Shams in the Theatre, 1880

The following article comes from The Daily Dispatch, Richmond, VA, December 2, 1880. I added a few paragraph breaks to make it a little easier on the eyes.

Shams in the Theatre

The Ingenious Work of the Property Man–Remarkable Effects Produced with Cheap and Common Materials.

(New York Tribune.)

Theatrical properties, so called, include all things placed upon the stage except what are painted as part of a scene by the scene-painter. Urns, vases, flowers, pictures, pianos, carpets, rugs, furniture, and all ornaments are “properties.” Besides these, all articles used by the actors in the performance of the play, such as canes, cigars, pistols, clubs, knives, pocketbooks, money, and other things of similar nature are properties. The property-man of a theatre has a responsible and arduous-position. Upon him depend many of the important points in a play. The check for $30,000 that saves the impecunious artist from an untimely grave; the secret drawer and hidden will, which, when revealed, restore the wandering heir to his rightful inheritance; the marriage-bell that hangs above the heads of the happy lovers in the fifth act; and the pitiless snow through which the shivering blind girl wanders singing her mournful songs, all are prepared by the property-man. Sad is the lot of that luckless wight who forgets to load the pistol with which the desperate villain is slain. The property-man is provided by the stage-manager with a complete list of the properties needed for each scene, and it is his duty to see that they are prepared and in their proper places before the curtain rises.

In the earlier days of the drama it was customary for the property-man to make all his own properties. Continue reading Shams in the Theatre, 1880

Snake Puppet Test Video

Here is a great video showing puppet and effects tests for the “Goa’uld” aliens from Stargate SG-1, one of my favorite sci-fi television shows. This comes from the Steve Johnson FX channel on YouTube; I’ve linked to it before, but if you haven’t seen it yet, it has dozens of videos like this one to watch and enjoy.

We are three-quarters of the way through technical rehearsals of Shakespeare in the Park, so I’ll be back to a regular writing schedule soon. I also have some potentially exciting news coming up around the middle of the month. Stay tuned!

A Shocking History of Stage Horror

Tabula Rasa has a history of gore effects used in theatre. Some highlights include:

  • Loading a dummy with animal blood and animal intestines for realistic disembowelings
  • Hiding a lamb’s tongue in an actor’s mouth to simulate him biting it off

The history goes all the way back to Ancient Greece. It’s interesting to see how real blood and offal was used throughout all but our most recent history. Though the information presented is brief, it’s a great starting point for anyone interested in this kind of thing.