First up is my latest article in Stage Directions magazine. I talked with a number of props masters about creative ways to stretch your props budget. The result is “Creating Relationships to Create Props.”
Ugh, another actor dead from props. This time, it’s a Japanese actor who was stabbed with a samurai sword during rehearsal. So far, they have not said whether the sword was real or a prop, and whether they think it was an accident or murder, so I don’t really have much to say about the incident. Depending on what we find out, my advice would either be A) Don’t give actors real swords without a fight choreographer present, or B) Don’t hire murderers.
I have a new article in the October issue of Stage Directions magazine. Last fall at Triad Stage, we did 39 Steps. I already posted about the giant chandelier I made for that show. The script also calls for a number of tricks and gags. One of them is a window shade with a mind of its own.
In my article, “Get a Grip“, I go through my process of solving that problem. I start off with an initial idea, and after a few rounds of testing and modifications, come up with a gag that works. How does it work? Well, you’ll have to read the Stage Directions article for that.
I also made a little video on it. You can witness my awesome acting skills.
Happy first day of May, everyone! I’m going into tech today, so the links will be short but sweet:
Jay Duckworth made 160 candlesticks for Hamilton, the most popular show in the world right now. Read his article in Stage Directions to find out how he did it. Hint: he used his drill press like a lathe. Okay, that’s a bit more than a hint.
Behold! The quickest tutorial on Wonderflex! Demented Cosplay has a video briefly going over the properties of Wonderflex, a plastic sheet that becomes pliable with very little heat, and hardens into place at room temperature.
I have an article out in this month’s Stage Directions magazine, hot off the presses. For “Cabinet of Wonders“, I spoke with Marc André Roy, the lighting project manager on Kurios, the new show from Cirque du Soleil. Kurios has a lot of props with wireless lighting and motion effects, and we looked at how Cirque makes that happen. I also talked with James Smith at RC4 Wireless, where all the wireless dimmers that Cirque uses are made. You may remember my blog post on my trip to RC4 Wireless earlier this summer.
These photographs of the inventories of British Soldiers are endlessly fascinating and useful. Thom Atkinson has taken all the gear and paraphernalia that a British soldier was issued at various times in history over the past 1000 years, and laid it all out on the floor. If you wanted to know what an archer was carrying at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 (say, if you’re doing Henry V), this is where you should go.
The Examiner has a great interview and profile of Beth Hathaway, a master of building creatures for film. Hathaway has been a fabrication specialist at Stan Winston Studios and KNB EFX for decades, working on projects such as Edward Scissorhands, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Walking Dead.
Finally, check out this LA Times story on Nick Metropolis, the famed LA store filled with junk and jumble of all varieties.
The Wire has a short history of ventriloquism which is quite fascinating, if a little bit creepy. I especially enjoyed the video of Ray Alan performing with his “Lord Charles” dummy, who was performing a ventriloquist act with his own, even smaller, dummy.