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Posts Tagged ‘props’

“What a Surprise” from Amelia Burke-Holt

In Amelia Burke-Holt, Internship, Props on January 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Amelia Burke-Holt 1.15

My first few days at OSF felt like I was back to the first week of college, something I was not too thrilled about. Being an introvert I am not a big fan of crowds, and feel uncomfortable doing ‘get to know you’ type of activities. I was pleased to see though, how friendly and welcoming everyone at OSF has been my first few days. Very little have I felt pressured to go out and get to know people, because they have come to me. I was also impressed by the variety of people I met and how people who worked in various areas at OSF all mixed together. In my high school theater, there was always the attitude that actors and technicians didn’t mingle, mostly due to difference in interests and personality. In college theater, this feeling wasn’t as universal, but I still found most of my friendships with others involved in scenery. I was pleasantly surprised then, to join a group of people expecting them all to belong to one department because of how well they seemed to know each other, to find a mix of all different interests.

Outside of the variety of people I spoke to on my first day at OSF, I have not spent much time with people outside the department I am working in, however every time someone walks through the shop, before they go I hear ‘Oh, have you met our intern yet?’ Overall, I have found the experience I dreaded of meeting new people in a new place to be surprisingly painless, and I look forward to getting to know more people as I explore all OSF has to offer me.

“Who Gets the Props?” from Paul Barrois

In Assistantship, Paul Barrois, Props on January 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM

OSF Props

Props are such a mysterious part of theatre. The thing I love most about props is that they are completely undefined. They range from a king’s scepter to road kill. Each show has its own demands for specific props. All the things that the audience sees onstage in a show are either made or found by prop artisans. The time that goes into each one of these props often goes unnoticed by most of the audience.

Most of the audience confuses what is part of the set and what is a prop or part of a costume. One of the first things that happen during a production is a meeting between all the designers and shop managers where they go through the script item by item deciding who is responsible for what item. Most of the time an item falls into a clear category but sometimes they fall into a grey area. For example, whenever a sword is worn by an actor onstage the sword is usually created by props and the holster is made by costumes. Each item is negotiated between the departments.

In the end, props covers anything an actor might touch or manipulate on stage, such as curtains, ceiling fans, food, tables, garden weeds, kitchen cupboards, rugs, restaurant booths and lampposts. The best way I have found to describe to people what props covers is to imagine the process of moving into a house. The scene shop is responsible for the house such as doorknobs, paneling and stair rails while props are responsible for everything else that arrives in the moving van.

Between hand props (which are props that an actor can hold in their hand like a remote control), set dressing (like a 50’s jukebox) and consumables (which are props that are used up each performance like a hamburger eaten on stage) there can be hundreds of props needed for a single production, but since the goal of props is to create something that will blend in with all the other elements on the stage to create a complete picture, many of these props are used without the audience ever being conscious to the work that went into making them.

Paul Barrois

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