Stage Properties are a Lesson in Wondrous Creativity
Today, I’m going to talk about Stage Properties are a Lesson in Wondrous Creativity–one of my favorite subjects! When I was studying theatre in college, the first back stage crew I signed up for was stage properties.
Boy, I had a lot of learning to do!
The show was “Look Homeward Angel” which is a period piece set in the early 1900’s. My job was to serve as an assistant of sorts to the cast. I would hand them props or take them from them if they were in a hurry. I prepared the set each night before the production, put the props away after the performance and kept them in good repair.
I hadn’t really given props much thought although I had been in charge of them in high school as well for “The Miracle Worker”. That was high school, you know? Plus, I lived in a small town in Kansas. Consequently, we didn’t have the money or energy to do more than the basics.
But college was a whole different experience.
My students are always advised by me that if they want to go into theatre as a profession, stick to technical theatre because you’ll be hired more often than an actor. Good properties people are hard to find.
They are resourceful, creative and inventive. The American Theatre Wing has some super videos to inform us about thetre careers. Check this out: American Theatre Wing’s Stage Properties
Stage Properties a Lesson Wondrous Creativity
Here is a post I blogged specifically about the importance of props in your production: Critical Steps in Choosing a Play or Musical: Stage Prop
When I graduated from college, I spent a summer as a stage properties mistress at the Okoboji Summer Theatre. It was an incredibly difficult experience–ten shows in nine weeks. I can handle a lot, but this job nearly broke me.
In case you didn’t understand that, I said 10 SHOWS (different) in 9 WEEKS!!!
Most productions have many props they need.
Musicals and comedies have the largest number.
Usually comedies need strange things:
- a Mickey Mouse hat to hold crackers on a “cheese ball”
- two live afghan dogs, hopefully identical
- a grand piano which is playable
- matching living room furniture in beige
- a large embroidered sampler held on a standing frame
- a painting with a church steeple which looked rather phallic
- a live cat
- liver and onions (which the cast can eat on stage–we used dark rye bread for that one)
- fruit pies impersonating the meat pies for “Sweeney Todd”
- 8 breakable white water pitcher which could hold water for five minutes and then break on cue
- bird puppets
- steamer trunks
- child’s rocking chair
- 1940 roller skates
Plus, there are all the things which are made from scratch such as swords, daggers, child’s coffin, and a grave marker to name a few. Those props take extra time to design and build. Here’s a cool video about making a stage prop. cake.
See? These are pretty fun and students studying theater need to know about the subject.
Stage properties are a lesson in wondrous creativity
You can find it at: Stage Properties Using Cooperative Learning
Those of us in drama education have a tendency to gloss over stage properties when we teach about them. I inform students if they like to make crafts, enjoy theatre and art they are going to love stage properties.
This one-day lesson about stage properties (with fairy tales as the focus) is suitable for upper elementary and middle school students. It is engaging, fun and unique.
Students learn about stage properties, view video examples, take notes, team up with a classmate and use their imaginations!
Stage properties categories and the reasons they aren’t labeled as such
Cooperative learning assignment
So look into my Stage Properties product, will you? I think it will help you and your students.
Usually, my high school stage properties unit takes about a week to complete. I have a Google classroom version and standard version of the unit.
What are some stage properties you have created?
You know, I’d love to learn about them.
Looking for other drama education products? Check out my store at: Teacher Pay Teachers Dramamommaspeaks Store
There you’ll find units on storytelling, tableau, radio theater costume design, Shakespeare and new products each week!
Reviews of other Dramamommaspeaks products:
“This is a great very well written resource and very good for text comprehension! Thank you!”
“This is such a wonderful and creatively made resource!”
“Love this activity! What a great way for students to work together!”
If you want more information about critical steps in stage properties, check out: Critical Steps in Choosing a Play or Musical: Stage Properties