April 5-15, 2012

Ragtime Props

Part of being in the cast of a show is forming a personal relationship with the show itself as well as building a history for your character. The emotional connection between the show and the cast can make a show truly amazing. That being said, I always thought that being on the crew meant that this personal connection was not needed because inanimate objects don’t have a history. I have recently changed my opinion.

In researching the different props needed for the show, I have come to realize that each prop has a story that makes it crucial to the show. For example, I used to think that the luggage that the immigrants carry is just that, luggage. What I have come to learn is that each piece of luggage, and the people that carry them have a story. What is in this luggage that is important enough for them to carry it across the ocean? Where does each piece of luggage come from? What is its story?

While going through the list of props with Torry, Jeff, and Mallory, we got into a conversation about whether or not Sara would have wrapped her son in a blanket when she buried him in the ground. While a blanket may seem like a meaningless object, it is the gesture behind it that is important. The conversation soon turned into a discussion behind Sara’s motives for burying her son in the garden. Does the fact that Sara wrapped her son in a blanket before burying him mean that she meant for Mother to find him? Or was the baby already wrapped in the blanket and Sara did not think to take it off? What would be the significance of Sara not wrapping her son in a blanket? All of these questions stemmed from one simple prop.

This, to me, shows how each prop has a meaning and a story that can possibly change the tone or the feel of a particular scene. Props create an atmosphere for the show, so each and every prop must be chosen carefully in order to convey the proper feelings to the audience. While this may seem obvious to some, I had never understood how important props were, until now.

Corinne Morris
Trinity ’15