Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stage Cacti

In the past I have had trouble when a cactus has come up as a prop needed onstage. I once gave up and bought a real live aloe vera plant, which the stage manager had to be responsible for caring for over the run of the show. 
 During my work on this show though I realized that small fake cacti are actually very easy to purchase, I was just looking in the wrong place.

You won't find cacti in the craft stores where I buy most of the rest of my fake greenery, but you will find a large selection of very inpressive fake cacti at pet stores. They are sold for people to put in terrariums with pet lizards and snakes and such. 
 I love awesome discoveries like this. 
And will certainly be using more in the future. 
For this particular prop I had another interesting challenge after finding the cacti. 
There is a bit in the show where one character is over watering the cacti on his desk and killing them. He needed to be able to put a full cup of water into the dish holding the cacti without it overflowing. 
To help with this, I used a sponge to create the sandy soil that the cacti were planted in. 
 With scissors and a matte knife I carved out the sponge to fit the tin I was using for a planter, and to fit around the base of the cactus plant. 
Because of the precise fit (just slightly larger than the tin so it would squish in and hold) neither the sponge or the plant needed to be glued in. This makes it easy for the run crew to take out the sponge, and squeeze it to remove the water between scenes, allowing the actor to continue pouring more water in without a risk of overflowing. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cheap Lumber

Hey all my friends who buy lumber in Chicago, I saw this stack at the Crafty Beaver the other day. I can't believe I never knew they did this before, and will likely use this to save money on build projects in the future. 
 And for everyone else, I'm betting that other local hardware stores must have spare cutoffs as well. It would certainly be worth asking if you need shorter lengths for a project. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fruit basket

In The Black Nativity, one of the numbers takes place in a market scene. I have baskets full of fruit, vegetables, bread, fish, and fabric. The baskets need to looks full and plentiful, have loose pieces for the actors to exchange during the scene, but be solid enough that things aren't rolling away during the dance.