Sometimes it can be really surprising how much STUFF it takes to prop a show, and the amount of work that goes into making that happen. Take, for example, this publicity photo. Seems pretty straightforward… just another kitchen/living room show, right?
Here’s the real breakdown:
1. Custom-made oven hood— welded sheet steel painted to look like copper.
Behind the actor is a 1980s electric range (you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a decent ’80s oven!), that we built a casing for and painted stainless steel so it would have more stage presence.
2. Assorted pots and pans, hand-painted to look like vintage copper pots and sourced mainly from Goodwill, thrift shops, and some stock we had on hand. Others were left as-is. We needed a total of 35-40 ‘copper’ pots for this show.
3. A custom-made functional cow puppet based on a logo from a vintage milk brand. Costumes/Crafts really wanted to make this one so we let them. (Less work for us, ok!) They did a great job.
4. Teapot from Goodwill that was meant to ‘boil’ water on an iron. Both the iron and teapot needed to steam, so we put brushed fog juice on the iron and actually turned it on (to heat up the fog juice and create steam— a normal iron wouldn’t steam while upside down). For the teapot steam, we rigged up a dry ice trick within the teapot that was triggered by the actor….. aaaand it was cut during previews.
5. This picture is from tech; we ended up making custom book covers based on actual cookbooks (and flameproofed them!!) so they didn’t look like law books.
6. Set dressing… pineapples were requested (a very lucky find at Goodwill) and so were ’Chinese’ objects like the rice basket. There were tchotchkies all over the set along with a billion books. R snuck a ceramic unicorn in there somewhere. :)
7. Stools from stock.
8. Real olive oil and other functional set dressing, including koi fish sake glasses from Goodwill used as salt and pepper containers. The actor makes real mayonnaise on stage as well as hors d’oeuvres, so there were a lot of consumables.
And that’s just a fraction of the set!