Friday, April 9, 2010

Proper Props

March, 2010

I knew a theatre actress who, while acting in a thriller, reached for a vital prop that wasn't there. The scene took place in a kitchen with an evil killer. As the murderer approached her, she was to grab a gun and shoot him. The gun was missing. The killer stepped closer because he didn't know the gun was missing and the actress grabbed a jar, screwed off the lid, made to throw the contents at her enemy and screamed, "Poisoned jam!"

Lesson One: It is an actor's responsibility to make sure their props are set.

Lesson Two (this is the hard one): Actors must never touch or play with another actor's props.

These kids want their props so much. I have a tantalizing prop box waiting for the day we do a decent run-through and they're off book. Guess what props, specifically, they really long for. Go on, guess.

Both the girls and the boys pine for those long pointy things. Shiny in their plastic glow. Oh boy, they want those swords...and I'm holding back.

I've had them line up in rows facing each other to learn the fights: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR and the DEATH BLOW. They start with hands on imaginary hilts and with imaginary swords the duels begin. They love it. The winners jump for joy and the losers writhe on the ground, sucking their final breaths.

"Off-book and a decent run-through!"


The tricky problem for me, prop-wise, was what to do when Macbeth greets his wife with his hands dripping in blood after he kills King Duncan. She shakes her head — what a moron — and tells him to go wash up and stop spilling blood all over the place.

T'was in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come, that I had my answer.

I sewed streamers of red ribbon on the fingertips of red gloves. Kind of gory without a messy clean-up. See, I paid attention to Lady Macbeth's admonishment.

Best Friend

I had a friend and she never stold something from me. One day she had a doll and when she was playing I took her doll and put it in my back pack. When my dad went to go pick me up and we went to the car I got the doll out and I said dad look what I got and he said wear did you get that from I said I stold it then I got in troble by my dad and mom and when my friend went home and she looked inside her back pack her doll was gone the next morning I went to school I got in troble by the teacher and I regrat that.
—Faith, 3rd grade


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