January 6, 2009

4 Days to Previews

Monday - Jan 5

Today the actors took a day off.

The properties department, however, did not and were rather busy with all of the notes they got from Sunday's rehearsal.

Our props team is very good at stretching the budgets with their creativity and resourcefulness. Sometimes they will build instead of buy - for instance we build a lot of custom furniture. Other times they will make something look like something else - changing the upholstery on a sofa can take it from period to modern. And then there's good old beg, borrow, and steal. We don't shoplift necessarily, but we did find some of the hospital bed parts used in Boleros in an alley next to the dumpster.

When we're doing a period piece things can get a little tricky. We have to find a balance between what is historically accurate and what works for the play. Sometimes you can't find the exact thing you're looking for at the right price.

One would think that historical accuracy is not an entertainment value but it has to be believable. People notice things - we've got a bunch of smarties here in Boston - nearly 50% of our subscriber households have graduate degrees. We get letters. During our run of Butley, with Nathan Lane, we got a letter informing us that the stripes on the ties were going in the wrong direction. It's a matter of distinction between the Europeans and Americans dating back to before the turn of the century - we were informed. So we try - or at least try for things that seem accurate.

The Corn is Green calls for Miss Moffat to enter with a bicycle. A contraption not entirely familiar to Welsh women in 1889. Our stock, extensive as it is, does not have any Women's Safety Bikes from this era. So we did some research - found an illustration - and started for looking for something LIKE it. Here's the 1889 version

The interweb is a wonderful tool for finding stuff... we found a website called Oldroads.com which has an extensive inventory of vintage bikes. The company - Menetomy Vintage Bicycles, Inc. - happens to be located at a local antique co-op in Cambridge (Cambridge Antique Market 201 Monsignor OBrien Highway, Cambridge, MA 02141). We inquired and Vin sent us back this photo of a 1920's English Antique - he thinks it will be believable to someone who knows bicycles. We picked it up this past weekend.

Not bad, eh? And they gave us a very nice rental price - we can't always get Antiques Dealers to rent their goods - so here's a big thank you to Menetomy Vintage Bicycles. And here's to props - who make finding something special everyday work.

The Huntington Theatre Company's production of The Corn is Green, by Emlyn Williams, playing January 9 through February 8, 2009 at the Huntington's mainstage, the B.U. Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA. Buy tickets online or call our Box Office at 617 266-0800

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