Directed by Bree Bridger
by Elizabeth A.M. Keel
September 5-29, 2019
PROPS DESIGNER ABI HARRIS SHARES HER EXPERIENCE OF DESIGN FOR OVERRIDE
The Mastery of Props by Abi Harris
How does the saying go? "There are no small props”. Yeah, that’s it.
The idea for the helmet started with simply asking the director, “what do you want?”. The most fundamental rule in theatrical design is making sure your design is in line with your director’s production. I was given the playwright’s helmet and asked to make it light up wirelessly, with a bunch of wires coming out of it for aesthetics. But can it be that simple?
Luckily, as I struck the props from the Houston Shakespeare Festival, my coworkers and I discovered a (beautifully) giant box of random wires in storage, sitting in wait for me to use. Knowing that the control of the lights had to be done offstage, I went with my first instinct and purchased an LED strip light kit, and soldered 4 sections of lights together using stripped ethernet cable. My favorite part about the entire process, was seeing all the colors of the wires bring life to the helmet, in the initial build. Once I had mounted and soldered together the 2 wireless battery packs that matched the voltage needed to power the lights, I went straight into “ Let’s just have fun with it!” mode.
I’m really grateful that my job requires me to be creatively conscious of all the needs that a show and/or an actor can have. I get to create the items that the actors bring to life, and in turn, they remind me that without our costumes, lights, props, set, and sounds, there would be no life to the show. I get to live the dream, and learn cool new things, everyday.