Sunday, August 9, 2009

War of the Worlds - Prop Table

For Friday nights performance I immediately wandered back to the Green Room to contemplate what I should sketch next. I arrived a bit early and found the room filled with chattering and excited teenagers who were performing next door. Sophia was sitting among them. We both wondered where the War of the Worlds actors were going to change. We walked into the Goldwin Theater and Fletch was there to explain what was happening. It turned out the Young Actor Company had a performance in the theater next door at the same time as War of the Worlds. He found two other rooms for our actors to change in.
When Sophia disappeared Fletch told me about another major problem. Lightning had struck the Theater the night before and the stage lights had been blown out. Suddenly everyone as in a panic. In the final minutes before the show an electrician was called in to try and fix the problem. Fletch dreaded the thought of having to performing the play with just the house lights on.
While all this was going on Lesley Ann was working on the wardrobe placing actors props such as hats and shoes in the appropriate taped grid on the floor. Other props rested on a table with a similar grid. The stage manager gently opened the vintage lunch box and placed in an apple which Joshua would eat on the stage edge facing the audience in the first moments of the play.
Before the actors had finished changing into their wardrobes, the electrician walked past me up the stairs with a line of nervous stage hands and lighting technicians behind him. Five minutes later, an eternity for the directors, the electrician walked past me again down the steps saying, "Another tragedy averted." He was the hero of the day. I spotted Aradhana at the bottom of the staircase I was sketching from and shouted "They fixed the lights! You have lights!" She shouted with glee.
The actors just before going on the stage would tap fists together and tap elbows for luck. Andy who played Orson Wells, flipped through a magazine. The pace of this show is very fast. Actors would often run to the table to grab something and then they dashed right back on the stage.
The small rag doll on the prop table was created by Tanja and her daughters. It is made from extra curtain material she had on hand and filled with cotton balls. The hair was made from curtain lining material that they soaked in tea.The doll has a quirky endearing quality. For Tanja it is now a family heirloom.
I went to Tastings Wine Bar to celebrate with the cast. They had much to celebrate since the night was a near disaster that turned into a glowing success. Tonight is the FINAL performance of War of the Worlds. It starts at 7 PM at the Shakespeare Theater in Lock Haven Park. I plan to dress is a fine suit to celebrate a great run with an amazing cast. The end is near.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Mary Ann said...

Trying to imagine how you sketched this perspective. Were you standing up, looking down over a railing? Very cool -- it makes me dizzy!

Thor said...

It was a stairwell. I was looking over the railing.

Kelp said...

I think this is my favorite of all of your sketches for this play. I love the opening night one too. I'm glad you blogged about this; It got me interested enough to try something new and go see the play. It was great!

Thor said...

Hey Kelp,
The fact that my blog inspired you to come out to the play makes me very happy. I like this sketch as well. It is amazing how just turning the sketchbook can make you rethink a composition. This was the first time I turned the sketchbook in many months.