Properties [props] (Fr. accessoires; Ger. Requisiten; It. accessori; Sp. utilería)
- Edward A. Langhans
[props] (Fr. accessoires; Ger. Requisiten; It. accessori; Sp. utilería)
Any objects used on stage that cannot be designated as costumes, scenery or lights: furniture, table lamps, food, flowers, carried spears, statuary and the like. A property may be as small as a snuff box or as large as a fabricated horse; it may be part of a costume (like a cap, which is a costume if worn but a prop if handled); it may be a personal or a hand prop, used by performers (carried, thrown, eaten from, read etc.); or it may serve only as trim or ‘dressing’ (such as pictures on a wall or chairs that are not used but decorate the stage and complete the design).
The dividing lines between properties, scenery and costumes are sometimes hazy. But the Scene Shop will usually see to the horse in Les Troyens, Siegfried’s anvil or a cannon, which are as much machines as props or scenic units, while the Costume Shop will probably take care of canes, sceptres, magic wands and Desdemona’s handkerchief. Many theatres have in-house departments for wigs, costumes, properties and scenery, but some have such shops scattered around town and/or use outside suppliers. Though some props can be purchased, many are specially designed and built, just as are costumes and wigs. Since most operas are set in past periods or realms of the imagination, they rarely call for modern costumes and properties. In his own day Mozart might have seen ...