Friday, August 27, 2010

Props For Lillian Alling

Here's an initial sketch by designer Sue LePage of the props in the upcoming Lillian Alling opera.

Props will include:

* A truck & luggage tarps
* Ellis Island furniture on a dolly
* Canteens & hurricane lanterns
* Telegraph keys
* Canvas packs
* A rain barrel
* Kites
* Burlap prison sacks
* Gold pans
* 3 babies

Sue is working with VO's Head of Props, Valerie Moffat, on figuring out what might already be in our prop shop, what needs to be made and what needs to be purchased.

Valerie thinks the hardest things to find will be the telegraph keys. Also, guns are always a challenge and the rifles used for the Oakalla Prison scene may end up being rented from elsewhere.

For Lillian's ubiquitous backpack, Valerie is on the hunt to find one from that time period (the 1920s) and make replicas, as we will need several of them backstage. Lillian's backpack is an important prop as it speaks of the journey, of packing up and going, and the circumstances that change her along her journey. When Lillian begins her trek, the backpack is almost empty. Like any traveller, as she moves westward, she slowly adds items to her pack. By the time Lillian arrives in Vancouver, it includes a bedroll and camping equipment.

The Lillian Alling prop list is pages long because of the number of scenes and the constant switching of time periods (present day, and flashbacks to 1927, the 1970s, the 1980s). The scenes are also set in different locations: farms, prison, downtown Vancouver and BC's Telegraph Trails.

While it may sound daunting to provide set dressing, accessories and furniture when the sets themselves are not even here (they are currently being built in Banff), it is a challenge that our imaginative and resourceful Valerie Moffat is up for.

Stay tuned for pictures as Valerie sleuths, shops and builds all the little details you will see on the Lillian Alling stage.

~ Ling Chan

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