Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

A big prop requires big consideration.

Who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of a giant champagne glass or some similar oversized, over the top prop. For many people, burlesque means some sort of large scale prop (I think we all know who we can blame thank for that).

Anything is possible these days, but there are several factors you should consider before jumping into the land of big props.

Can you afford the big prop of your dreams? And will you make that money back? Are you going to be able to get enough gigs at the price you need for the prop to pay for itself? Now, a big prop doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. Perhaps you’re handy and can do some of all of the work yourself. Perhaps you can modify something existing to give you what you want without fabricating the whole thing from the ground up.

Transport and Storage
Once you have this enormous thing, how do you get it to your gigs? Will it fit in your vehicle or are you going to need to borrow or rent something bigger? Can you lift it by yourself? Do you need a hand-truck?
When you’re not using it, where will it live? Do you have space in your home or rehearsal space or will you need to rent a storage unit. Making your prop break down into smaller components is a big help. Once it’s broken down, how do you store the component parts so everything is safe and nothing gets lost?

Set Up
Can you set it up by yourself? Does it need tools? Do you have special requirements, like electrical power or a minimum ceiling height? Can it be set up off-stage and moved on and off relatively quickly? Do you know how to fix it if something goes wrong?

Perhaps I’ll talk about some of these issues in future missives, because big props are currently on my mind. Our upcoming show The Big Time at The Thalia on May 19th and 20th features acts using big props, most of which were built by the cast members!

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.