Monday, October 22, 2007

It's Showtime . . .Again

I finished my role as (lame) stage mother while Erin was doing Best Little Whorehouse, and now am working nonstop as prop master for DCT's production of Dracula, which opens this weekend. Needless to say, the prop list for this show is a bit weird. Blood, blood, garlic, stakes, a hammer, blood, a rat, garlic, working blood transfusion apparatus, a bloody crying baby, blood, a meal of chicken and vegetables, rosaries, flaming crucifixes, blood, and communion wafers. Every one knows where to find these things. Right?

Surprisingly, the most difficult thing to find was artificial garlic. I looked every place in Denton that I thought should have it. I came up empty handed. BK and I tried several more places in Dallas that also should have had it. We visited some areas that no respectable women should be seen . Still, no garlic. We enlisted some friends on our search. They made some great suggestions. Unfortunately, we still had no garlic. Finally BK's sister, MH the super hero, found artificial garlic in El Paso and shipped it to us 2-day. It came today and I have made five lovely garlic braids. Thank goodness for friends in other places.

Shopping for some of the other props was a little more entertaining. Retailers in our area are usually polite and willing to help. In the case of looking for these props, however, the response to their question of "How may I help you?" shocks them a bit. When I was looking for the rat, I replied to the offer of help with, "Do you have a life-like rat that is hollow so that I can slit him down the middle and fill his belly with a blood pack?" The clerk quickly showed me one that she was sure would work. I suspect she thought I was smoking something and that she could find me any rat and send me on my way before I asked for anything else. She was lucky that she did not work at my next stop, Toys R Us.

This was my second trip to the dreaded toy store this year. But, I needed a baby doll. The pleasant clerk who is obviously used to making kids happy by pointing them to the shelf that holds the newest Elmo doll, or PlayStation game, or superhero action figure, was not prepared to help me find a doll that kicks and cries and whose limb can be ripped off and replaced after each performance, and again, whose body can be filled with blood packs. She simply pointed us towards dolls and left me to find the one I needed. Surprisingly, we found one that works great, as long as you hold her upside down. She kicks and cries while upside down and coos and gurgles when held in a comfortable position. We don't want any of those happy baby sounds. So, it is three weeks of being upside down for this little doll!

The crying baby first appears on stage in a burlap bag. We made a trip to Wal-Mart to purchase the burlap to make the bag. It was early in the day so the woman in the crafts department was cheerful and chatty. "What are you going to make with this?', she inquired. "Um, you really don't want to know.", I say. "Yes I do.", she replies. "I am making a sack to hold a kicking, screaming baby who is about to have her leg eaten off." With a funny look, she manages, "Oh.".

Then there was the visit to the Catholic bookstore. We needed several rosaries. There were many choices - from the ones with plastic glow in the dark beads to some very beautiful ones made with precious stones. I kept praying, literally, that the one woman who was working at the time would not ask for what special occasion we needed a rosary. I am fairly certain that she would not have taken well to hearing that we needed a rosary with a large crucifix that would rid our lives of vampires. I also did not ask her for a crucifix that would spontaneously burst in to flames. I made that myself. A girl must earn her keep as a prop master!

The Catholic bookstore did not sell communion wafers so we visited the Methodist bookstore for these. Again, I was hoping that they did not ask why I needed them. When I asked where I would find the wafers, the friendly clerk pointed me to them with no questions asked. It was like I was asking where the Oreos with the orange filling were; no big deal. Since the wafers are not consecrated, using them in the show also is no big deal. They are just like any other piece of Styrofoam that you go to the store and buy. Right next to the communion wafers was ash from palm leaves. I also needed a little ash. This was my lucky day. I paid for my stuff and left without any questions about what I was going to do with these things.

I have just about completed my collection of prop items. One of the few remaining needs is a bottle of wine. Unfortunately for the actors, they can't have the real thing on stage. So again, I must earn my keep and empty a bottle for them. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Those on stage will have pomegranate juice because one of the actors is allergic to cranberry juice, my usual red wine substitute.

And the blood - that is an art in and of itself. Stay tuned for the bloody details.