Present To Past – Stage Directions magazine talks with Natalie Kearns, the head of props at the Grand Theatre in Canada. They look at her career and some of the props she has built at various other theaters.
The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.
Behind the Scenes with Natalie Kearns
by Jamie Carty
“I had more fun than I can begin to say. It was clearly what I was meant to do,” says Natalie after describing her experience working on a Theatre for Young Audiences show at Emerson College.
Meet Natalie Kearns, master of all things props, and only twenty-seven years old! Her favorite food to eat is roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, her mom’s Scottish heritage specialty, while her favorite fake prop food she’s made is a giant turkey leg. Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Natalie is a 2008 graduate of Emerson College with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts degree in Design/Technology. She moved to Framingham, Massachusetts at age five. Natalie has recently moved back to London, Ontario, in Canada and is employed full time at the Grand Theatre as the Head of Props. For anyone wondering about the differences between Canadian and American props, Natalie says that there aren’t that many. She says that Canadian theatre “uses imperial measurements because of all the cross-over with US theatre.” At her current theatre, they do not use Phillips head screws, but instead use Canadian-bred Robertson screws, a minor adjustment. Continue reading Interview with Natalie Kearns→
You have only a little more than two weeks left to enter my Prop Building Guidebook Contest! Don’t wait until the last minute to enter. I also wanted to point out that a week from Monday (April 22nd), you can start voting for your favorite prop in the contest; tell your friends they can vote for your prop once per day until the contest ends on April 30th. In addition to winners in each of the individual categories, the prop with the most votes will win its own prize category, so vote early and vote often! And now, onto the links.
Here is a fantastic article about the guys at Spectral Motion, one of Hollywood’s finest creature shops. They’re responsible for most of the monsters in the Hellboy films, as well as for work in X-Men: Last Stand, Blade:Trinity, and this summer’s Pacific Rim. The article is replete with information about how they got started, what kind of work they do, and what inspires them. It is also heavily illustrated with photographs showing their workshop and the inner workings of some of their creatures. I especially love the following quote about why practical effects are still necessary in an era of digital mimicry:
“A lot of times people turn to digital solutions. That’s also good, if the application is correct. But, you know, a lot of directors that we talk to are of the mind that a practical effect is far better for exactly that reason–because the actor does have a co-actor to work with, to play off of, and to have feelings about.”
From the prop masters email list this week comes Click Americana, an ongoing collection of vintage photos and ephemera from all decades of American history. You can search for specific topics or just browse through by decade, from the 1820s to the 1980s. It has a whole section dedicated to recipes, too, great for when you need to provide period food.
I am back from the 18th (or 19th?) official S*P*A*M conference. This year’s host was Jim Luther, the Prop Director at Childsplay Theatre in Arizona. On the Saturday of the conference, he led us on a tour of his props shop and their facilities.
The front room of the shop is the “clean” room, which also had a number of props out for display. Jim showed us some pieces as we looked around. Continue reading Childsplay Theatre→