Tag Archives: mask

Donkey Mask from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nick Bottom finds his head transformed into that of a donkey, courtesy of the mischievous fairy, Puck. The donkey head is among Shakespeare’s most distinctive props, and has been on my bucket list of famous props to build. Recently, Triad Stage mounted a production.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream", Triad Stage, with Rebecca Hirota and E.E. Williams. Photo by Bert Vanderveen.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Triad Stage, with Rebecca Hirota and E.E. Williams. Photo by Bert Vanderveen.

The mask was designed by our costume designer, Hannah Chalman. She designed masks for all the fairies as well, so we split the fabrication of the masks between the props and costume departments.

Continue reading Donkey Mask from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Easy Prop Links

The Artist Behind Some of the World’s Most Famous Images Isn’t A Photographer, It’s Top Backdrop Painter Sarah Oliphant – I never realized that the backgrounds of photographs on the covers of magazines are actually painted backdrops. I especially did not know that most of them are painted by the same people. Sarah Oliphant and her studio create the custom drops you see on magazine covers such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and GQ.

Prop Emergency & A Drag Queen To The Rescue – Jay Duckworth recalls the time his drag queen brother had the perfect solution to a prop problem he had. Meanwhile, I built all the furniture for that show.

Easy Casting of Small Model Parts and Miniatures with Blue Stuff – Make Magazine shows off a product called “Blue Stuff” which is used to make molds for small parts. It becomes soft in hot water and is reusable. It seems to be fairly similar to “Friendly Plastic” over here, but definitely worth testing out.

Majoras’ Mask – Accurate Replica – User Hydromatic93 brings us this Instructable on constructing a mask from the Legend of Zelda video game series. The process starts with a clay sculpt which is molded in silicone and then cast in a two-part resin.

St Patrick’s Day Props

First off – the second edition to The Prop Building Guidebook is finally here! Go buy it so I can feed my babies! And if you like it, please leave a review on Amazon or wherever you purchase it from. And if you really like it (or you really liked the first edition), feel free to shoot me an email; the sad fact of being an author is you do not know how people are using your book unless they decide to tell you.

What’s in a letter? Prop or prank? – The Chasing Aideen blog has a fascinating look at prop letters on stage. Through conversations with directors and historical artifacts, we get a glimpse of how prop letters range from nonsensical scribbles to fully-realized reproductions from the imaginary world of the play.

Skylight Music Theatre’s ‘Beast’ puppet a giant thing of beauty – It really is. This massive, fully-articulated puppet looks like it stepped straight out of a Guillermo del Toro film.

Adam Savage Behind the Scenes of Ghost in the Shell! – In this video, Adam Savage heads to New Zealand to see some of the practical masks and animatronics which Weta Workshop designed and produced for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell film. The aesthetic is an amazing blend of smooth futuristic tech with old-world hand craftsmanship.

The Make: Guide to Dungeon Master Crafting – A lot of props people love models and miniatures, and a few enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons. Make has put together a guide of some fine tutorials on how to make your own miniature terrain and buildings for whatever role-playing games you prefer.

And finally, I’ve started this Instagram thing where I’m sharing all my photographs of prop shops, prop builders at work, and other backstage theater stuff. Come check it out!

Friday Props are Tops

Good news and great article: 20th Century Props is reopening. It was one of Hollywood’s largest prop houses when it closed down six years ago, but it’s back now thanks to booming business in LA.

Cassandra West talks with Greg Poljacik, inventor of Gravity & Momentum, which may be  “the finest stage blood in the world.” I’ve heard from other prop masters that it truly is a remarkable fake blood, and washes out of nearly everything.

The MacGyver Project has a new interview with Pat O’Brien, the prop master on MacGyver (a show which often serves as a metaphor for a prop master’s job). It’s remarkable how much he remembers about the props on a show that aired thirty years ago.

Though you can find tons of information about building your own R2-D2 throughout the internet, I really like the photographs in 2StoryProp’s build log of this famous movie droid.

Finally, meet Björk’s mask maker. There is not a lot of information on James Merry, but you can see plenty of photographs of his beautiful hand-embroidered lace creations.

Mid-August Reading Links

The Broadway Bullet podcast is back and Jay Duckworth comes with it. Jay is the props master at The Public Theater; he talks about propping HamiltonFun Home, Shakespeare in the Park, and pretty much every other show that everyone is talking about.

The Creators Project takes a look at Paul Rice and the stunning raven mask he made for True Detective season 2. They show the whole process from concept art to the final piece, which had 15-20 raven feathers per square inch, all individually attached. The article says the mask was made from “silastic”, which is a real material, but I wonder if they meant “Celastic”, which is what it looks like it was constructed from.

About a month ago, I shared a video of the UNC Chapel Hill costume shop and their enviable project of recreating sci-fi costumes for the Museum of Science Fiction. Now, La Bricoleuse has a behind-the-scenes photo-essay of the first project, a flight attendant uniform from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Finally, what grooming products do film and television characters use? Born Unicorn is a blog which chronicles all the lotions, shaving creams and other products which show up on screen.