Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Props awards

Recently I have had multiple discussions with people about the lack of recognition and awards for props. The conversations usually start when someone I am working with has the sudden realization, "They don't award a Jeff for props do they?" The answer is no, they don't. I have talked to many props masters that don't want to be recognized. They believe that if someone notices the props, then they aren't blending in well enough and they aren't doing their job. On some shows I can agree with that idea, but I have worked on other shows where the props were central, I worked incredibly hard on them, did work that I was proud of, and would love to have the chance to be acknowledged.

Right in the middle of this series of discussions, Eric Hart put up an article about the same subject over on his props blog, "Why is there no Tony Award for props?" Apparently this is on more people's minds than just mine.

I acknowledge that to an outside observer it can be sometimes hard to discern what is props, and what is scenery (who selected/designed the furniture for example), but with all the crossover between all areas of design in collaborative theatre we still manage to separate out the other categories.

Recently, I have to admit that I have become more offended when reviews and playbills fail to list me as a designer. I was treated as a designer all the way through the rehearsal process, until credit was given for the work. I attended design meetings, was asked to give a design presentation at the first rehearsal, went to the designer runs of the show, sat through tech and dress rehearsals and previews and took notes with the designers, and then when the program was put together I was not listed with the designers, instead I am listed as staff.

This is not just a Chicago thing, as Eric Hart researched in his article, he could not find a single awards show in the country that acknowledges props.

I am, of course, terribly biased on this subject. Everyone would like to see their work recognized, but there are no awards for stage managers, production managers or technical directors either.

I'd love to know what you think.

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