Cameras have been a big part of shopping for props for plays and film for a long time. You shop, you snap photos, you bring them back to the folks who make the decision and you make a go/no go decision based on the production’s needs.
I’ve spent the better part of the day today doing just his kind of shopping for the Wayside Theatre world premiere of Southern Crossroads: The New Orleans Adventure that debuts next week. We’re not looking for hand props necessarily, but how to decorate this old bar where the story takes place. It’s set in 1931 New Orleans, so period and design are key elements. The photo taking part is easy. Walk around, grab a shot, send it back to the productions staff for consultation.
Then the fun part starts. We’re a small not-for-profit theatre so we are always try to beg, borrow or steal what we can to make a show work. Usually we ask the owner to work with us and loan us the props in exchange for program advertising or sponsorship credit and some tickets to the show. It’s always a gamble on our end, especially if we find just the right prop. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As we enter into negotiations we’ll quickly email back to the home office and make sure we can set up the deal, program ad copy, etc… right on the spot, so we can move things along.
That’s what happened this morning at one stop and it led to a treasure trove of what we call “set gack” that will be coming to our stage to give live to the old bar and the show. It sure beats making several phone calls and several trips back and forth to clinch a deal. It also saves times in meetings.