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Shams In The Theatre

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T heat rica 1 properties, su-eulled, inal] ihinga placed apon the b BW pt ft I ;;llt OÍ H ht-eiu' li the scene-painter. D.rus, v;ises flöwers, pictui , cárpete, rugs, furniture, nd ;i!l ornamenta are "properfcies." Bösièes Uieseail irticles uaed by tlie actors in the prafórmaiuis of he play, such as canga, cigars, iislols, clubs, knives.pocket-büoks, muiuiy, and otlier tilinga uf similar nature at properties. The property man of a Ibeatre has a roaponsibte md arduous position. Upou him depend many of the important pointe In ; play. The check lor :30,ooo that Bares thé impecunious artlstfróin an untimely grave; ihe secret drawer and hldden will, which, when reyealed, restore, the wandering heir to his riglitful itiheritaiice; the marriuge btll that, hangs above the lieads of the happy lovers in the fifth act, and the pitiless snow through which the shivering blind girl wanden singing her mournfu) songs- all are prepared by the property man. S;ul is the lot of Uiat luckless wlglit who forgets to load the pistol with whïcb the desperate villian is slain. The property man is provulod by tlie stage manager with a complete list of the properties needed for each scène, anti it is his duty to see that they are prepared and in their proper places before the curtain rises. In the earlier days of the drama it was customary for the property man to make all his own properties. From Uie simple bronze urn to the masslve oaken lire-place, everything was slowly and laboriously wrought out by this liHuii; Ol mexhaustible ingenuity. In the Shakespearian drama the property man still has plenty of this kind of work; for the helmets, spears, sliields, and battle ariay of the motley groups of dumb warriors are all the results of his toil. Iu the modern drama, huwever, it has been iound easier and more effective to borrow properties than to make them. Ttie ebony eaaels, the Turkish rugs, the rare engravings, the bric-a-brac and art objects thai erowd the parlors of the modern Croesus on tbe stage are readily borrowwl from some euteiprisiiig dealer, who lends them tor the sake of the advertisement. One of the leading theatres in this city actually buya the elegant furnlture displayed on its stage, sell ing it atter the run of the play has ceased for perliaps 100 less tlian the original cost. Nevertheless there are maiiy little things which the property man is still obliged to manufacture. Unís, which eau be used at any time, bronze figures, flovver-pois, llowers, and rustió furniture are usually made by this industrious worker. AL il the articles just mentioned, exoept flowers and rustic furniture are made lrom old scraps of wrapping paper. The maker obtains soine common elay wets it. and, lsiyiug it on a broad unooth board, models it in the shap lie wishes. Around thlfl model li builds i wooden box. He tben mixe some piaster of l'aiis and water, mak ing the mixture pretty tliick, and stil ring it rapidly to prevent iis hardening It is poured over tlie clay mould, an( allowed a half hour to dry. Th mould is then separated from the plas ter and au urn of the latter materia is found conipletely lormed and read for the paper. Heavy paper, free froi all filazii;g" is used. It is fh'st fcoxn int sinall pieces and Boaked thoroughl in ulean water. The mould is the carefully greused with sweet oil o lard, and a wit coat ot paper laiu oi íiUs u ie nooks and crarmies of tb mould. Foui addltional eoats of th paper is then put on smoothly an evenly. Then comes a laer of musli and glue. Tlnee more coats of pape are added,and the article is allowed t ;iy about twelve hours. Wheu it i periectly tree from moisture, th inner coats of paper aie drawn ou leaving the muslin and the three oui side layers of paper. Only half a vas or urn is mouhled at a time. Whei the two halves are ready, their edge are neally triiumed and sewn togethe with strong twine, The twine is col ered with a thin coat of paper, and th urn is ready for coloring. It reóeiy lirst a coat oí whitenii)g, after whic it i;. sand-papered. Then the final of color is put on, and whatever orna menta are desired eau be added. In this way a capital Imitation of a blue and gold vase a bronze urn o ïiirure can be obtained. The blue an gold vase is paiuted uich the dia temper c lor used iy gcenic artist, gilded; a brouze vase recei i of bronze powder, Buch ;is can le Lo ighl in any paint store. Silver and go i goblets are also easily countei ieited in ihi.s manner, though tbes thinga are sometimea turñed out of wood. It takes four days to raakea pair of urns in this way, and requires great care. Il' tbe rribuld Í8 notproperly greased, the urn wil) stick to it and tear when an attempt is made tö tuktit brom the mould. Articles made in this way are veiy light, and can be kicked about, as they always are, without breaking. 0U1 baken flre-placea made of this material, and apparently weighing soo pounds, weigh ia realitj about uiteen pounds. Wbat is oalled a "banquet set," consisting of platea, knives, i'orks, roast chickeu, potatoes, baskets of fruit, and other thiugs needful for a feast, is sometimea made of paper. Flowers are made of üssuu páper. The paper is cut in enrular pitees and fastened to short sticks. Dheee are then set in a wlre frame. A handsome marriage bell can be produced in this way. Rustic chaira are made trom comuion wooden cbaics. Hope covercd With paper nswers for the twigs which twine around the back, arina and legs. Yines are made of paper, rope, and wire. Heavy ferns mil tropical planta are easily counterfeited. A sheet of pasteboard is cut in the shape of tbe leaf. A pieoe of rattan is then split, and tliy pasteboard inserted. The wiiole is then colored it a suitable manner. The weiglit of the pasteboard leaf bends the rattan siem. ind i ts swaying at the lightest touch íives it a natural appearanee. A snow storm is ill papsti, and is a production which the proporl.y man detests. The snow consista of small bits oí' white paper, which he must cut. Dheee outtiDgs are placed ín thé snow!)(ix. Tiiis is a long, íiíirrow box, the bottom oí wliich is made of slats. 11 is suspended above the stago by a rope at each end. By pulling one rope a seesaw uiotion is given to the box, anii the snow sifts throagh the bottom. A cloth is spread upoii the stage, and the snow, falling uuon it, is careíiilly swept up with an economy iliat nature does nol aeed, an! used again the next day. Tbe sil ver moon, that looksso calmly QDon the agonies f t!ie plaj ís a bollow sham. lt is siinply a con e suspended by wires with tlie base toward the audienee. This base is covered with palé green silk and a candle inside supplies the mild radiance that enohanta the eye. The fellovr who falls fiom the scaffolúing in "L'Assommoir," is made of raitan ; the limbs are iointed, and the dummy is dressed in oíd clothes. Ilis face is made of the inevitable paper. S.age money, as know, is counterfeit beyond all iioubt. The coin is usuaíly made oí' lin. The paper money sometimes consista of oíd counterfeits, tnken in at the box-offlee, and soraetimes of the advertising greenbacks that are Intel in tin s reets, The property man iilso makes the colored B eh ilI 'ie last acts of the speotacusiul whicb invariablj appear wifeh fairy tranaformations. lied lire, w hich ia ma I used,eonsiBts of strouchi shclhu;, and potas!]. The Sames w - lick the .s!.i;js(i burning dwellings ate owdered lycopodium. Tlrls is ': au ïLstrument known as a h torch," which haa a pepper-loi má a lamp (■ver it. When the lorch :-■ Bwung, the powder sites througb into tbe lamp ftaine and blar zes up in long longues of fltume. Xbe most effective lightning is made of magnesium. A small piuch is placed on the blade of a knifeand ignited. It prodnce8a quick, lilinding glare tliatis vers realistic. It is not used


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Ann Arbor Democrat