Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Six - Props! ALL THE PROPS!

Interested in all the random stuff that the actors use on stage? The mind behind the mess is the one and only Theresa, and she is here to answer your questions!

How did you get involved in this show? Have you worked with props before?
I've been a stage manager at Tufts since my freshman year, so this is my first real attempt at designing. I've SMed OShows for the past two years and I love how bizarre and special the OShow process is, so when I heard that the show needed a props designer I decided to give it a go. It's been a welcome break from stage managing for sure!

What is special about the O-Show, prop-wise?
I think the combo of really short time frame + props heavy show + watching your budget makes for a pretty unique experience. Otherwise, there aren't many unusual restrictions on props for oshows, unlike the restrictions that costumes and set have to deal with this week.

What is your props design concept for this show?
I was pretty jazzed when Cole expressed a desire to modernize the look of the show and to amp up the material presence of the show. The script is pretty 80s-referential and most of the props are imaginary with really minimal set dressing, but we've worked away from that concept. Now the look of the show is contemporary and more fully realized, which I definitely prefer and has been more fun for me to design. As I told the actors at design presentations, I really wanted something like the college dorm scene to feel like YOUR messy dorm room right now, and when you order a Diet Coke you don't want an imaginary one!

What is the most difficult thing about prop designing an O-Show?
The compressed time frame is definitely a challenge. For a major, buying props, adding props, and making tweaks can all happen over the course of many weeks, leaving you pretty fully prepped to go into tech. For an OShow, when the director wants to add a prop, you have about 12 hours to get your hands on one before the next rehearsal. My first trip into prop stock happened on Monday and cue to cue is today, so I've only had about four days to buy/ fix/ find/ add/ do all of my crafty projects, and this show is props heavy!

What is the most fun thing about prop designing an O-Show?
In as many ways as the short week is a challenge, it's also a really unique opportunity to just focus on the show and have fun. When else do you get to spend a week with your friends, not have classes, camp out in D/T making polaroids and bridal bouquets, and throw a show together?

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I've been really excited about the great level of collaboration going on in our pstaff. We're all working well together and it's clear that we're committed to the fun of the project and putting on a great show for the freshmen regardless of the challenges of o-week. Just this morning several designers offered to cut our budgets so that Linda can buy a costume piece she really needs, and I really appreciate that congeniality we've got going on. Eric, the department's brand new ATD, has also been really generous with his time and skills this week to help us. Often during shows the collaborative spirit can fall apart during times of stress, but this definitely hasn't been the case here.

What do you think of the play?
I think the play is a good choice for everyone involved. The many different roles allow the actors to really cut loose and go for it, it's fun for the designers to design, and I think the freshmen will enjoy its humor and spirit of (at times, really weird) friendship.

Any advice for freshmen interested in prop design?
Just do it! We really, really need props designers! While the Drama department doesn't offer any formal instruction or training in props design, it's totally doable with good attention to detail and creativity. More experienced props designers can mentor you (heeeey Beky Stiles and Hanna Freedlund!), and the job is a great mix of craftiness, ingenuity, and design while still being one of the less daunting design positions. (And Next Fall, the 3Ps major, still needs a props designer...)

I think the whole oshow process really just speaks to how sincerely we want freshmen to be involved in the 3Ps community. We wouldn't come back from our summers a week early and rehearse all day and tech like crazy people and commit to this so fully if we didn't want freshmen to see the shows, get excited about all of the possibilities for them, and then join 3Ps. I saw the oshows my freshman year, got the First Year Show stage manager job, and never looked back. I hope that 2015 will feel the same way!

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