Author Topic: PROPS: Dead Birds  (Read 5431 times)

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crazychicksj

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PROPS: Dead Birds
« on: Aug 16, 2010, 05:08 pm »
Hello all,

I'm currently gearing up to stage manage a production of Chekov's "The Seagull" and I could use some advice on how to handle building two of the props for the show. I did a search already and only one thread from 2007 came up, but it wasn't much help.

I need to build a life size dead seagull. The director wants it to actually have feathers and flop about like an actual dead bird before it hits rigor. I also need to give it a gunshot wound complete with blood. She has decided it was not shot with bird shot but a bullet from a hand gun so that the wound would be visible.

The second prop I need to build is a replica of the same bird, sans gun shot, mounted to a piece of driftwood.

Every idea I run by her that I find elsewhere and pictures of possible rentals are not up to snuff. I know these are doable, but I don't know where to start.

Any ideas?

missliz

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Re: PROPS: Dead Birds
« Reply #1 on: Aug 16, 2010, 07:08 pm »
Aha! Funny enough, I had a pair of dead, headless birds for a recent production.

The birds were made out of a rubber dog toy..I forget what they're called, but they're very heavy rubber and look like a snowman. The props person made it with that, covered in paper mache and then feathers. Wings were attached with a little bit of wire left loose...when they were dropped out of the actress' hand the wings fluttered a bit and they had a nice THUD and slight bounce when they hit the floor. The ends of the dog toy (hollow) were filled with fabric that was touched up with stage blood each night, as the actress needed to have some blood on her hands.

I am not sure how helpful this is but maybe it'll give you some ideas. Here they are:

I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

kiwitechgirl

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Re: PROPS: Dead Birds
« Reply #2 on: Aug 17, 2010, 02:28 am »
Can you talk to a local taxidermist - they may have some ideas?  We did The Seagull recently and ended up with a real dead (stuffed) seagull, which brought with it its own issues.  We actually acquired the seagull through our Arkadina, who was walking through the central city a couple of months before rehearsals started when a perfectly formed seagull literally dropped dead at her feet....so she got a plastic bag, picked it up, took it home and put it into her freezer and then brought it into the theatre!!  We did have to get all sorts of permits and permission to use it though - and it had to go to a museum after the season ended, as the species is protected (even though it died of natural causes!!).

MarcieA

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Re: PROPS: Dead Birds
« Reply #3 on: Aug 17, 2010, 09:47 am »
Aha! Funny enough, I had a pair of dead, headless birds for a recent production.

The birds were made out of a rubber dog toy..I forget what they're called, but they're very heavy rubber and look like a snowman.

It's a Kong! That's what those dog toys are called. =)
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

missliz

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Re: PROPS: Dead Birds
« Reply #4 on: Aug 17, 2010, 10:00 pm »
Can you talk to a local taxidermist - they may have some ideas?  We did The Seagull recently and ended up with a real dead (stuffed) seagull, which brought with it its own issues.  We actually acquired the seagull through our Arkadina, who was walking through the central city a couple of months before rehearsals started when a perfectly formed seagull literally dropped dead at her feet....so she got a plastic bag, picked it up, took it home and put it into her freezer and then brought it into the theatre!!  We did have to get all sorts of permits and permission to use it though - and it had to go to a museum after the season ended, as the species is protected (even though it died of natural causes!!).

Gold star for that actor!
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

crazychicksj

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Re: PROPS: Dead Birds
« Reply #5 on: Aug 20, 2010, 08:30 pm »
Thank you for the ideas everyone! One of our artisans has expressed a particular interest in building the dead birds with me. =) (I love our props department!) So I'm going to run the kong toy idea by her. I think it should work really well for our purposes.

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