As You Like It Properties Design
Dr. Daina Robins and Professor Richard Smith
In most of Shakespeare's plays and other Elizabethan theatre, props are generally few and far between. They may be alluded to in the script but, unless it is necessary to the plot, there is rarely any mention of theatrical properties. Furthermore, the timelessness of Shakespeare’s plays permits the setting to range in virtually any time period and place. These two factors allow for a lot of creativity and collaboration within the production team to decide the aesthetic of the play as well as the objects that live in that world. As You Like It focuses on young, fleeting love and the duality between civilization and nature. Particularly for the latter reason, we decided to give the play a primarily Industrial Revolution aesthetic. As Properties Designer, I attend production meetings and collaborate with Daina Robins, our director, and the other designers to create a cohesive world between properties, set, costumes, lighting, and sound. It is also my responsibility to have a solid grasp of the period and theme by doing extensive research. For this particular play, I will be studying Victorian hunting weaponry as well as period furniture, luggage and travel bags, paper and writing utensils, and food found in the region among other details. These being such narrow subjects of research, I use all the sources I can to find what is accurate: books on period props, history books, the Internet, primary sources, and sometimes even Pinterest boards. Finally, with the director’s approval, I acquire, fabricate, or construct the objects that will bring the world of the play to life. With these skills, I hope to help create a world that captivates the audience and reflects the themes that Shakespeare so eloquently penned.
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