When you’re in charge of props for your theatre company’s latest show, there’s always that one prop that leaves you scratching your head (e.g. dead cat on a string). How in the name of Dionysos will I make that? Or, what the heck kind of show is this, anyway?

For our production of Ruthless, creating a fake roasted turkey was a challenge – but one willingly met with the help of cling wrap and spray paint. From tap boots to fit a monster (Young Frankenstein) to under-the-sea delicacies, we’ve faced more than a few ‘what the’ prop challenges.  

We asked Theatre WA to tell us the weirdest prop they have ever bought or made, and their responses confirmed what we already knew: theatre is strange and wonderful world. And body parts are a more common prop than the uninitiated might think.

THE WEIRD

  • “Cockroaches to be eaten on stage in Pitchfork Disney.” – Grant Malcolm
  • “Torture devices for The Addams Family.” – Krispin Maeslu
  • “‘Thing’ hands and a carnivorous plant (with moving mouth!) for The Addams Family.” – Chantal Wilson
  • “I knitted some sardines for Darling buds of May!” Shelley McGinn
  • “I made a crayfish that the cast had to eat on stage. It was made out of a crust-less French stick which I shaped like a crayfish tail and it had orangey/pinky food colouring to simulate the colour of a cooked crayfish. I wish I’d taken a pic, it was very realistic. I had to do a new one every night.” – Michèle Acott
  • “A Dragon with a working head that was built onto an RC car.” Kiri Vinsen
  • “Pot plant puppet Audrey (Little Shop of Horrors) complete with on-demand wilting leaves. The ‘Rodinator’ – a compressed air gun used with a valve to blast air for a variety of props/s-fx like shotgunning plaster ceilings (The Young Ones). A torture chair, complete with straps and a see-through Perspex rat eat-your-face-off attachable box (1984).” – Rod Wilson
  • “A blow-up, full-sized Hitler doll.” – Shelley Stubbs
  • “A laughing sailor.” – Danni Ashton
  • “All the Little Shop of Horrors puppets including Pod 4, the one that eats people.” – Gary Wetherilt
  • “A chicken whose eyes lit up – a ‘battery hen’!” – Les Morley-Hart

 

THE BODY PARTS

  • “Developing a scrotum-shaped gobo for a show.” – Chris Thomas
  • “A giant vagina to use as a doorway for my Fringe show.” – Alide Chaney
  • “I made a wolf penis once. And the other day I asked a school mum if we could borrow her baby.” – Princess Nicole
  • “A very large black cardboard penis – I’m talking fridge size.” – Karen Francis
  • “A ‘Bat-symbol’ type gobo of a penis.” – Graeme Johnson
  • “A bronze cast of an erect part of Sir Winston Churchill’s anatomy for What the Butler Saw.” – Grant Malcolm
  • “I made the prop for What the Butler Saw from a dildo, empty toilet roll and black and bronze paint.” – Pamela Smith
  • “An obscene object for Don’s Party comprising a large timber rod with two red rubber balls tied to it built with relish and brought to rehearsal by a giggling real-life deacon in the Anglican Church.” – Grant Malcolm

Let us entertain you!

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