Props Blog Post for RCT Website by Ruthanne Bolling
Hey, folks! Did you know that there are many, many technical aspects of an RCT show that go on behind the scenes, or backstage? You’ve probably seen them in programs and heard about them at the Awards Show: Sets, set dressing, lights, sound, hair, costumes, make-up, and props. If you’d like to get involved at RCT, but you’re not ready to take the stage, technical theatre may be the answer. Now, most of these technical aspects are fairly obvious – like make-up or costumes, BUT, I’m sure many of you have struggled and stewed for hours pondering the prop. Well, it’s your lucky day! Here are the answers to what must be your most burning questions about props.
Q: What is a prop and what does it have to do with community theatre?
A: PROP is actually short for PROPERTY and refers to items that are carried (like weapons) or used on the set but not attached to the set (like furniture). During the Renaissance, traveling acting troupes often accumulated items for these purposes which were considered “company property”. These pieces can also represent a specific period, place, or character-type.
Q: How do you “do” props?
A: First, a props designer goes through the script and makes a list of all of the items needed for the show. The props list for Les Miserables is 5 pages long! The designer, often with the help of crew members, gathers the props. Hopefully, everything will be in place in plenty of time for the actors to practice using them well before opening night. During the shows, the props crew is responsible for keeping a table for hand props the actors will carry on and off-stage and to move set items on and off-stage during scene changes.
Q: Where do props come from?
A: Props designers at RCT usually acquire props in 3 ways – BBB – Basement, Borrow, or Build. (They can also be rented from props houses, but this is an absolute last resort as it can be very expensive!)
Basement: Props designers usually start in the basement under the lobby and auditorium where RCT has an extensive collection of props. Prowling through the rows and rows of racks and shelves, you’ll see reminders of past shows like the manual typewriters from Thoroughly Modern Millie, the royal benches from The King and I, Charlie Brown’s mailbox, and candy cane pillars from The Nutcracker to name a few.
You’ll also see lots of fake weapons, dishes, flowers, trees, all types of furniture, and even old appliances and artifacts from days gone by. Remember the ancient refrigerator used in Wait Until Dark and again in Barefoot in the Park?
Basement Full of Memories: Can you name the show?
Can you name the decade?
Borrow: Items not found in the basement are often borrowed for volunteers, patrons, or area businesses. The treadle sewing machine used in Fiddler on the Roof belonged to my grandmother! The upcoming production of Les Miserables still needs to borrow several items. Do you have or know of someone who has any of these?
- 1 old, metal funnel
- 3 or 4 metal café tables with chairs
- 1 or 2 old (or replica) marionettes
- 1 or 2 old, wool blankets (preferably not military green)
- 4 or 5 assorted tools/implements (pickaxe, pitchfork, hay rake, sledgehammer (light), etc.
Build: Some items simply must be built as they’re too difficult to find – like the “Who” band instruments in Seussical, the shaving dish Cervantes wore as a hat in Man of La Mancha, or Cosette’s wedding cake for Les Miserables.
Rent (Last Resort): Every once in a blue moon, items are just too rare or valuable to find or borrow and too difficult to fake. For example, for the upcoming performance of Les Miserables, we need 11 French muskets circa 1815 and a few pistols, and we’d like at least some of them to actually fire. After contacting reenactment groups, museums, and collectors, it looks like we’ll have to resort to renting – UNLESS you know of someone with antique weaponry sitting around the house. (Don’t worry. We have insurance!)
Well, now you know about props at RCT. Gathering/building props is a great way for folks to get involved at RCT, and it is an absolutely vital, technical aspect of every show. Props done well help suspend disbelief and “make it real”.
If you have not purchased your tickets for The Little Mermaid, Jr. yet, DO IT NOW! The Box Office gets VERY busy in the last 1/2 hour before the show, and things get very backed up. If you have already purchased tickets and they are waiting for you, they will be on the Will Call table. If you have placed them on hold but NOT paid for them, you will need to go to the Box Office. Please don’t wait until 15 minutes before the show to come purchase your tickets…you may miss the beginning of a fantastic show!
Listen in on an interview with RCT Board of Directors President Ghlee Jewison and Office Manager Bonnie Miller this Sunday (July 7th) at 8:30 p.m. on 89.3 K-LOVE radio.
NOTE: This local segment will be heard over the air at 89.3 FM only and not on the web stream at klove.com.
Flounder here! You guys will NEVER believe this. My best friend Ariel, who is the most talented mermaid under the sea wants to be a human ! She’s even taken me up to the surface. Scuttle, the seagull/human stuff expert tells us about all of the things Ariel finds. I would be more scared if he wasn’t so funny. Her dad is the king of the ocean, he was boiling angry when he found out about us going up there. He was so angry that he stuck us with this crustacean named Sebastian. King Triton said he would “watch over us”. What a crab! I think King Triton is afraid of the evil sea witch, Ursula. Triton probably noticed Ariel is distracted by something, she acts so fishy, it’s obvious! Whatever it is, I’m “shore” it’s really special. I might need some help figuring it out. I cant believe I’m asking this, but will you guys please come and help me? There might even be some super radical songs too! Come “sea” what happens with Ariel, Ursula, Sebastian, and me!
Lots of love,
Announcing: The cast of characters for the 5th annual World Premiere fund-raiser melodrama… Mayhem at Mad Dog Mulrooney’s Sassafras Saloon ~or~ Know When to Hold ’em; When to Explode ’em.
Todd Burk ….. Onnest S. Daislong Courageous and noble. He’s just looking for honest work.
Meghan Cooper ….. Promise Pureheart Sweet and innocent. Schoolteacher and leader of temperance league.
Dave Jetmore ….. Cadly Kaardshahrk A scurrilous cur. Lies cheats and steals to get his way.
Anna Harkrider ….. Jennifer Innajam A saloon girl. A good girl being blackmailed into servitude.
Heather Gard ….. Lucinda Ladherclimer President of the school board. Her ambition reaches much further.
Kim Dearing ….. Sherman Selzalot Traveling salesman. Has whatever you need, for a price.
John Garden ….. Mad Dog Mulrooney Owner and barkeep. Just wants to run an honest business.
Ron Intnyre ….. William Weekwhill High society gadabout. Secretly drinks and gambles.
Tim Emery ….. Peytron Hangeround Eternal customer at the saloon. Sees everything that goes on.
Jenna Garden ….. Wanda Beeghood Miss Pureheart’s pupil. Has a tiny streak of mischief in her.
Jean Valjean – Aaron Nell
Javert – Marty Hancock
The Bishop of Digne/Ensemble –Andy Dudas
Fantine – Charity Hawkins
Little Cosette – Annetta Clapp-Itnyre
Thenardier – Marty Hoelscher
Mme. Thenardier – Holly Hathaway
Little Eponine/Street urchin – Alyssa Haller
Gavroche – Nikolai Catey
Eponine – Cathy Sandlin
Marius – Jarrod Davis
Enjolras – Daniel Sutton
Cosette – Chloe Waddle
Olivia Wambo (Gavroche understudy)
Lily Schamel (Cosette understudy)
Students/Ensemble: Women’s Ensemble:
Shawn Curtis-t/b Chastity Hinshaw-s
Dustin Summan-t/b Robyn Zitnick-a
Michael Ward-t/b Mackenzie Mehaffey-s
Josh Greeson-b Maureen Doherty-s
Wade Guthrie-t Kaitlyn Stupi-s
Ryan Shaw-t Renee’ Piekutowski-s
Josh Lykins-t Emily Hobson-s/a
Jeremy Williams-t Cassidy Ballin-s/a
Spencer Milligan-t Hollie Caskey-s/a
Men’s Ensemble: Aimee Culver-s/a
Blake Middleton-t/b Jaci Bartlemay-s/a
Derek Summan-t/b Bryn-Ellyn Frazer-s/a
Zach Cornett-b Stephanie Toschlog-a
Tracy Perkins-Schmittler-t/b Stacy Nagel-s/a
Chuck Gilbert-t/b Regina Branagin-s/a
Mark Stolle-b Alisa Clapp-Itnyre-s
Devin Summan-t Sarah Holt-a
Andrew Hogan-t/b Marti Crull-a
Bryan Schuck-t/b Shelley Wambo-a
Congratulations to each of our nominees and winners. Thank you to all of our volunteers and members who make the “RCT Playground” possible.
And the winners are…
|Best Actor||Marty Hoelscher Barefoot in the Park|
|Best Actress||Kayla Chamness Hairspray|
|Jennie Kiffmeyer The Grapes of Wrath|
|Supporting Male||Ryan Shaw Hairspray|
|Supporting Female||Jaclyn Bartlemay Little Women|
|Cameo Male||Bob Myers Guys and Dolls|
|Cameo Female||Hollie Caskey Hairspray|
|Angie Karch The Grapes of Wrath|
|Set Design||Nicholas McLarnan Hairspray|
|Lighting Design||John Oberle & Malynda Clevenger The Grapes of Wrath|
|Sound Design||Rick Funk The Grapes of Wrath|
|Props Design||Amber Phelps Wait Until Dark|
|Costume Design||Carol Hathaway & Paul Jordan Little Women|
|Hair Design||Donna Mack Hairspray|
|Make-up Design||Renee Harleman The Grapes of Wrath|
|Best Choreography||Cheryl DeLucio Hairspray|
|Best Musical Direction||Shenita Piper & Sandi Cox Hairspray|
|Best Overall Production||Little Women, Directed by Holly Hathaway|
Joan Vigran Volunteer of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year is selected from nominations received from show Director’s and Board member’s for participation in the 2012-13 season.
Named after the founding director of Richmond Civic Theatre, this award is a prestigious recognition of dedication to RCT. The award is presented to a member who has given long-term (at least ten years), continuous, and significant service to Richmond Civic Theatre.
Helen Bringle Youth Award
Awarded to volunteers 18 years-old and younger. The youth may have participated as actors, on tech crews or as volunteers in some way. Nominations are based on a youth who demonstrates one or more of the following; a good work ethic, leadership, determination, exemplary skills on stage, backstage, or in the spirit of volunteerism, and the ability to work well with other volunteers.
This award is given at the discretion of the President of the RCT Board. There need not be a winner every year. This year’s award was given by Steve Holthouse: IN HONOR AND DEEP APPRECIATION FOR DEDICATION AND COUNTLESS VOLUNTEER HOURS IN THE HANDLING OF THE THEATRE’S FINANCES.
Check out photos from the celebration in our Gallery.
Richmond Civic Theatre is excited to announce our new website. The site was redesigned by the Theatre’s Marketing Committee. RCT partnered with Summersault through the process.
The updated site is intended to facilitate communication and involvement in the theatre. As part of the new site we’re introducing two new ways to connect with us:
A special thanks to the Marketing Committee, led by Kathy Clopper, for creative direction, and to Carvin Rinehart for artwork.
RCT is excited to announce the Cast of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.
Directed by Kristy Jackson and assisted by Leslie Bolser
Music direction by Jaclyn Bartlemay and C. Fox Gibson
Fish Chorus direction by Ashley Valentine-Derrer
Choreography by Peyton DeLucio
|King Triton||Sheldon Griffin|
|Prince Eric||Ross Harrington|
|Pilot/Chef Louis||Joe Hunsinger|
|Gull 1||Jill McKinney|
|Gull 2||Brennan Fogle|
|Gull 3||Justice Lewis|
|Tentacles||Mallory Bolser, Payton Bryant, Evelyn Derrer, Alyssa Haller, Noah Towe, Alexa Turner|
|Sea Chorus||Natalie Milligan, Becca Pheanis, Alex Livesay, Hannah Samuels, Brianna Fletcher|
|Ocean Creatures||Tarissa Gregory, Eden Grooms, Austi Jenkins, Kayla Walker, Madison Cohee, Jessica Smith, Ivy Hanson, Alicia Towe|
|Sailors||Kimber Robinson, Mackenzie Newman, Emily Ball|
|Chefs||Kimber Robinson, Mackenzie Newman, Mallory Bolser, Evelyn Derrer, Alex Livesay|
|Fish||Abagail Towe, Kyleen Wilber, Kendall Coyner, Sophia Coyner, Allie Hamilton, Tessa Hamilton, Claire Fogle, Micah Derrer, Maren Bolser, Mary Jetmore, Austin Kosier, Hannah Elstro, Edyn Curry, Mallory McDonald, Krista Smith|
|Lagoon Animals||Natalie Milligan, Becca Pheanis, Alex Livesay, Hannah Samuels, Brianna Fletcher, Tarissa Gregory, Eden Grooms, Austi Jenkins, Kayla Walker, Madison Cohee, Jessica Smith, Ivy Hanson, Alicia Towe, Abagail Towe, Kyleen Wilber, Kendall Coyner, Sophia Coyner, Allie Hamilton, Tessa Hamilton, Claire Fogle, Micah Derrer, Maren Bolser, Mary Jetmore, Austin Kosier, Hannah Elstro, Edyn Curry, Mallory McDonald, Krista Smith|
Senior (65+) $15
Student (with ID) $15
Members: Tickets included with membership
Friday & Saturday: 7:30pm