Dear Constant Reader,
One of the earliest big props built was The Giant Absinthe Bottle. It was supposed to be like those dancing cigarette boxes from long ago, with only the dancer’s legs showing. It needed to be light enough for the dancer to hold it up and dance, sturdy enough to last through rehearsals and shows, and break down for travel & storage.
Scratch designed it, but the construction may have been a group effort. It was made from corrugated cardboard — specifically a refrigerator box. The bottle was cut in two pieces that bolted together at the middle. The body of the bottle was spray painted green and the top black to look like a cap. Across the back was bolted a piece of PVC pipe to make a handle, so the dancer had something to hold to move the bottle. It also curved the cardboard, making the whole thing more bottle-like. The best part, in my opinion, was a label that attached with Velcro to cover the seam where the two pieces joined.
We used it in a couple of shows, but have almost no pictures. This is the best one I could find, from a run-through of French Kiss in 2010, by Katherine Mae Judd. You can just see the bottle at the side of the stage behind the cast streaming off after the curtain call rehearsal.
Pros: easy to make, needs no special tools to build or assemble, cheap, light to use, relatively easy to store & transport, amusing.
Cons: not very durable.
Eventually we trashed it. The cardboard had gotten damp at some point and had started to delaminate. I’m pretty sure we saved the label and the hardware. We’ve talked about recreating it, perhaps out of a light plastic. It would be fun to have Betty do her Goth Dance of Woe-due-to-lack-of-absinthe again.