Photo Set

Seven Beds for Seven Brothers

As we wrap up the Season of the Beds (Turntables were a close second), we wanted to showcase all the beds we custom built or heavily modified. Bonus points if you can guess the shows!  

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"That awkward moment when a door-to-door industrial cleaner salesman asks what your toughest stain is, and you respond with 100% sincerity, ‘Blood.’"

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"I use traditional methods in graphic prop-making wherever possible: a real 1930s typewriter for typewritten documents; a dipping pen and ink and for any handwriting. Pieces have to be aged, too, as nothing should look like it was made in an art department five minutes ago. Madame D’s last will and testament took a lot of aging, for example, as it contained over 600 pieces that were scripted as being some 46 years old. I have some tricks of the trade that I’ve learnt over the years… mostly involving a big vat of tea and a hair dryer.[…]The beautiful thing about period filmmaking is that you’re creating graphic design for a time before graphic designers existed."

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Wonderful interview with Annie Atkins, the design genius behind Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.  (via explore-blog)

What a dream job! The graphics prop designer for “Grand Budapest Hotel”

(via inthepropshop)

(via inthepropshop)

Source: explore-blog
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Photo Set

Sword-smithery
What do you do when 8 rapier hilts are not enough? Make another!

This was a fun project because we got to cobble together a lot of unconventional materials to make the hilt. R went to Goodwill with a magnet in her pocket and picked up basically anything weldable, which included silverware, napkin holders, and decorative candleholders. You can see a few of the raw materials we started with in photo 1, as well as our Eyewitness Books reference material.

Using a cutting blade on an angle grinder for the big stuff and on a dremmel for the little things, R chopped apart curlicues, hoops, swoops, and leaves. She mocked it up to relate to a stock hilt (photo 2) before she welded it together.

R started welding with a fat piece of flat stock and two triangles for quillion blocks. It had to sit perfectly snug against the blade, which involved a lot of drilling and filing. She added the knife handles for the quillions and curlicues for guards (photo 3), which she then decorated with bent fork handles. She continued by welding on the side rings and hand guard pieces, obsessively making sure everything lined up properly (photo 4), and added the leaf decoration last.

The handle was made from 2 matchbooked pieces of hardwood that had the shape of the blade routed out, which were glued and sanded to perfection by M. A quick coat of linseed oil brought out the color.

After the basic structure was fabricated, we ground and sanded it smooth, and then coated it with metal primer. The final finish was chrome spray paint (photo 5) with an antiquing glaze on top. We assembled everything and added a finial we had found and threaded for the pommel, et voila! Our finished sword (photo 6)!

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MORRISTOWN, NJ—In an innovative, tradition-defying rethinking of one of the greatest comedies in the English language, Morristown Community Players director Kevin Hiles announced Monday his bold intention to set his theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in 16th-century Venice.

"I know when most people hear The Merchant Of Venice, they think 1960s Las Vegas, a high-powered Manhattan stock brokerage, or an 18th-century Georgia slave plantation, but I think it’s high time to shake things up a bit,” Hiles said. “The great thing about Shakespeare is that the themes in his plays are so universal that they can be adapted to just about any time and place.”

According to Hiles, everything in the production will be adapted to the unconventional setting. Swords will replace guns, ducats will be used instead of the American dollar or Japanese yen, and costumes, such as Shylock’s customary pinstripe suit, general’s uniform, or nudity, will be replaced by garb of the kind worn by Jewish moneylenders of the Italian Renaissance.

"Audiences may be taken aback initially by the lack of Creole accents," Hiles said. "But I think if they pay close enough attention, they’ll recognize that all the metaphors, similes, and puns remain firmly intact, maybe even more so, in the Elizabethan dialect."

Added Hiles: “After all, a pound of flesh is a pound of flesh, whether you’re trying to woo a lady in 16th-century Europe, or you’re a high school senior trying to impress your girlfriend with a limo ride to the prom, like in the last Merchant production MCP did in ‘95.”

Though Hiles, 48, is a veteran regional- theater director with extensive Shakespeare experience, he said he has never taken such an unconventional departure. The Community Players’ 1999 production of Othello was set during the first Gulf War, 2001’s The Tempest took place on a canoe near the Bermuda Triangle, and last year’s “stripped- down,” post-apocalyptic version of Hamlet presented the tragedy in the year 3057.

Hiles said he became drawn to the prospect of setting the play in such an unorthodox locale while casually rereading the play early last year. He noticed that Venice was mentioned several times in the text, not only in character dialogue, but also in italics just before the first character speaks. After doing some additional research, Hiles also learned that 16th-century Europe was a troubled and tumultuous region plagued by a great intolerance toward Jews, historical context which could serve as the social backdrop for the play’s central conflict.

"Even the names just sort of fell into place," said Hiles, who had been planning to center the play around an al-Qaeda terrorist cell before going with an avant-garde take. "Theater is about taking risks, and I’m really excited to meet this newest challenge."

Some of Hiles’ actors, however, have reacted negatively to his decision. Some are worried Hiles lacks the knowledge and talent to pull off the radical revisionist interpretation, while others characterized it as “self-indulgent.”

"I guess it’s the director’s dramatic license to put his own personal spin on the play he is directing, but this is a little over-the-top," said Stacey Silverman, who played Nurse Brutus in Hiles’ 2003 all-female version of Julius Caesar. “I just think Portia not being an aviatrix does a tremendous disservice to the playwright.”

Added Silverman: "You just don’t mess with a classic."

Content from http://www.theonion.com/articles/unconventional-director-sets-shakespeare-play-in-t,2214/

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  • Question: you're the grim reaper person! I was just thinking back to the paper mache grim reaper a few days ago because I wanted to see it again since it looked kickass. was the frame made of chickenwire? did you have one of those fake skeletons inside or did you make the hands out of paper mache? also, how much did it weigh in the end? (sorry for question onslaught, it looks awesome) - the-theatre-ghost
  • Answer:

    backstageleft:

    Hey! That’s me! :D It’s no problem! I’m 100% game for answering questions. 

    The frame was made out of 2x4s originally with some PVC for things like arms that bended and some support. (We had a PVC Bend-It so we were able to very easily heat and form it anyways we wanted. Here’s the frame with the base pole for the scythe: image

    We did not have a fake skeleton inside, we welded together and bent out a hand structure out of 1/4” pencil steel and wrapped where we wanted the joints in tape and then covered it in cheese cloth + roofing compound. Then we attached the hands to the supports for his arms. (The wings were PVC bent into space with cheesecloth + roofing compound). 

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    We used burlap and wood glue/water mixture (basically mache) for the main body of him. We cut what we wanted for his robe, draped it to test then dunked it in the mixture and rehung it on him. We also has to burlap-mache the inside of this hood so no chicken wire was peaking out. 

    It didn’t really weigh much at all. It was a little awkward and pokey (dried glued burlap can be sharp) but if he wasn’t attached to the base/maybe a little shorter I’d be able to sling him over my shoulder and carry him away.

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    Voila! Also he was fairly weather proof, his little circle area flooded twice during his run outdoors. 

    Thanks so much! And lemme know if you’re curious about anything else!

    Life-size Grim Reaper tutorial from Backstageleft

Source: backstageleft
Photo Set

Prop Request Form— Submit at your own risk

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We are doing a little props presentation this week on prop ‘magic’ and are brainstorming some examples of neat stuff we’ve made or fun prop tricks that would appeal to a non-technical audience.
So we thought we’d ask you— what kind of props do you find particularly cool? What insider props knowledge impresses and amazes your friends? Which prop tricks and hacks are your favorite? Let us know!

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Tiny dog found his own pint-size man cave.