Author Topic: misc prop questions  (Read 4015 times)

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beningini

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misc prop questions
« on: Apr 10, 2007, 10:53 am »
i'm doing "Fuddy Meers" (a wickedly funny show) but have a couple of prop questions that i haven't encountered before:

1) there's a knife that one character stabs another in the back with - all the action takes place US and really isn't visible, it happens right before intermission so that when Act 2 starts the stabbed man has a bloody rag to his back - my question is about the knife, i have gotten many suggestions, but am unsure
    - we've been rehearsing with a "prop" knife, the kind where the blade disappears into the handle but the problems are that it needs to be a kitchen knife and because it's cheap and plastic we've gone through 2, they keep breaking
    - an actor suggested dulling an actual butcher's knife, but that seems WAY too dangerous to me
    - another actor suggested getting a knife from a Halloween shop and covering the dull grey plastic with mylar

2) we have a kitchen complete with a non-working fridge, but during the show characters open the fridge to pull out bacon and frozen foods - how can i keep these things fresh, i have been transferring them to the green room fridge and freezer each night - and how can i duplicate the little fridge light that comes on when the door is opened?

3) finally, something i've never dealt with in a show but have plenty of real-world experience - one character is supposed to roll and light up a joint on stage.  the papers and lighters aren't an issue - it's what to put in it that i am having difficulty with, and on top of that the actor has never smoked a cigarette or a joint before, so it looks awkward when he pantomimes.

any suggestions would be appreciated.
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avkid

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #1 on: Apr 10, 2007, 12:04 pm »
If the fridge is non-working (even when plugged in) have an electrician rig up a pressure switch and battery to power the bulb.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

Scott

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10, 2007, 12:08 pm »
3) finally, something i've never dealt with in a show but have plenty of real-world experience - one character is supposed to roll and light up a joint on stage.  the papers and lighters aren't an issue - it's what to put in it that i am having difficulty with, and on top of that the actor has never smoked a cigarette or a joint before, so it looks awkward when he pantomimes.

We used (re-rolled) "Honey Rose" herbal cigarettes for the Off Broadway run of the musical Summer '69 -- smelled right and was apparently relatively not too harsh for the actors.

Mac Calder

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2007, 12:40 pm »
1) there's a knife that one character stabs another in the back with - all the action takes place US and really isn't visible, it happens right before intermission so that when Act 2 starts the stabbed man has a bloody rag to his back - my question is about the knife, i have gotten many suggestions, but am unsure
    - we've been rehearsing with a "prop" knife, the kind where the blade disappears into the handle but the problems are that it needs to be a kitchen knife and because it's cheap and plastic we've gone through 2, they keep breaking
    - an actor suggested dulling an actual butcher's knife, but that seems WAY too dangerous to me
    - another actor suggested getting a knife from a Halloween shop and covering the dull grey plastic with mylar

Dulled knife is a BIG no-no (if you can avoid it - cos if the weilder misses, they bloody hurt). Have a search, as I can remember there being a few threads about knifes on this forum. Risk assessment is your friend with all these sorts of things. You need to find the best solution that has low risk/hazard rating. Basic RA instantly says to me retractable or rubber, of a good quality (the mechanism mustn't jam).
« Last Edit: Apr 11, 2007, 07:26 pm by Mac Calder »

Jessie_K

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10, 2007, 01:06 pm »
Are you having a fight choreographer for the stabbing?  Or has you theatre ever work with a fight choreographer.  He/ she would probably be one of the best resources to find prop weapons.  Perhaps he/ she can suggest a shop or a website where you can find what you need.

I too just did a play with a fridge.  The LX rigged a light in there and it was controlled from the light board.  If you can plug your fridge in to make the light work, try that first.

And yes, I carried all the food back and forth from the non-working fridge to the green room fridge every day.  :)  I actually did it in shifts to keep all food items cool as long as possible.  (Changed out food during scene shifts/ intermission)

Fuddy Meers is a great play, hope you continue to have fun with it.

Balletdork

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #5 on: Apr 10, 2007, 05:09 pm »
And yes, I carried all the food back and forth from the non-working fridge to the green room fridge every day.  :)  I actually did it in shifts to keep all food items cool as long as possible.  (Changed out food during scene shifts/ intermission)

Yup. If you cannot have a cold fridge on-stage.....  ???

ljh007

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #6 on: Apr 11, 2007, 12:14 am »
Do not use a dulled real knife - too dangerous!

You can dip real blades in a rubber coating (like Plasti Dip) and then spray paint the blade or cover it with foil/mylar. This gives a realistic look, but the actor must be carefully fight choreographed to turn his wrist - and the blade - away when stabbing the other actor. I have done this in dozens of shows without any problems. But you must have professional, reliable, safe actors.

avkid

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Re: misc prop questions
« Reply #7 on: Apr 11, 2007, 03:34 pm »
Put some ice in the fridge to cool it down before the show. An unpowered fridge is really a huge cooler if you think about it.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

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