Guest writer: Brian Walker, Production Manager
I’m stopping work briefly to write about the prop process for Stanton Welch’s new ballet The Core. We have been making, buying and acquiring props for the ballet for about two months now. Our first big batch of props started when we were told that everyone in the show would need some sort of bag, purse, or other personal item to carry during the street scenes. So on to eBay I went to look for vintage items. I was surprised at the number of things I was able to find. We ended up with around 20 different items from the 40’s, none of which we paid more than $25 for. My personal favorite is the alligator skin purse that still had the original sale tag inside.
Once we got our initial list of props that Stanton was planning to use, we started working on building and buying those items. I made several period replicas of Time Magazine (we didn’t want to use a real vintage one that would end up being destroyed). We also had to come up with a newspaper for the show that wasn’t specific to any city even though the ballet is based in New York. So I took several newspapers with no color images and changed the headers and covered any pictures on the front page. So now we have a few Gotham Gazettes and Gotham Daily News newspapers. I also ended up making fake money that has George Gershwin’s photo on the front.
We generally have to respond pretty quickly with prop requests. As the ballet is created, new prop needs arise, so we try to fill them as fast as possible. Any time someone is heading out of the office, they can end up with a list of things to buy while they are out. This week, one of the production staffers ended up in a smoke shop to buy cheap Zippo lighters for both The Core and Swansong. It was particularly interesting when they were told that we are tax exempt and having the employee call the owner to find out how to handle that.
All in all, it’s been an interesting process making props for the new work. We’ve certainly had some fun making some of the more creative ones. That said, back to work on the props.