Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Great Globe Itself: Property Design

For those not engaged in the art of theater, any part of what appears on stage, any thing, which is manipulated or acted with, by an actor, whether it be handkerchief or vase of flowers, if it is handled or used in some fashion, it is no longer a costume or set, but a property, or "prop".

Terry Martin is Prop Master for Great Lakes Theater, and he also designed sets for all of the outreach tours I have written, including On the Dark Side of Twilight, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Double Heart. We met when he designed the set for Bad Epitaph Theater Co's. production, State of Siege in 2003.

Terry has also designed the props for The Great Globe Itself, with tremendous assistance from Lexi and Rachel. In earlier posts I have described the concept behind the Globe Theatre set. One additional element in the set are signs which will help the audience understand which era the characters occupy, 1613, 1936 or 2005.
Terry was inspired to create these signs thanks to a photograph of the eighteen year-old Sam Wanamaker at the Old Globe Theatre in 1936. How clearer to show and convince, and the remind the audience that yes, they did seven shows a day, back to back, all week long, than to recreate this signpost?
There is also an important plot point, the show order for the day, which is represented on this sign. I wonder how many audience members will catch it before our character of Sam does during the performance?

Starting with sing concept, Terry created a lovely poster for the ill-fated 1613 performance of All Is True - or - The Famous History of the Life of Henry the Eighth (see top) and finally we needed a sign which said "21st century theatre". Anyone who has attended a performance as part of the Broadway series at Playhouse Square should be familiar with this:

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