Kate Danley here! When the curtain comes down on a show, there is still plenty of work to be done. I thought I’d take you behind the scenes during strike for some of the inside jokes and hidden treasures of this Building Madness world. Click on any of the pictures to view them larger!
We ended up renting many of the furniture and props from a place called the LA Stage Warehouse. It is a special co-op where theaters pay a monthly fee and can both store their costumes, props, furniture, and set pieces and, for that same monthly fee, you can borrow all the costumes, props, furniture, and set pieces your little heart desires.
One item we borrowed was this Remington typewriter. Isn’t she a beauty?
Trixie has a joke about the keys sticking, but 9 times out of 10, the keys actually were.
I also just loved this phone.
There is a way you can rig these old phones to actually still ring, but I’m afraid the cord on this one was just too cracked and old. It was tucked into a drawer in the hopes the audience wouldn’t notice it wasn’t connected to anything.
Don’t you just love that hall tree?! Originally, we were just going to track down a hatstand, but the Warehouse was plumb out. Overnight, this piece came in and it was more perfect than we could have hoped for. Not only able to hold hats, it was just the right size for that old radio from the GTC’s own collection. One of my life goals is to have a hall tree just like this one!
Ah! Trixie’s mug! It was purchased for only $1 at the 99-Cent Store in Burbank. Originally, it was just supposed to be a stand-in prop for rehearsals, but it ended up making its debut in the show and sticking around.
Vito is supposed to hand Trixie a list of supplies to buy. During rehearsals, Matt Jayson would hand me random shopping lists he had concocted: dog food… cheese… dumpsters…
The box under Trixie’s desk.
This is the check that Gwen uses to save the day. Kevin hunted down old check images and printed out two. It was always a challenge before each show to figure out where “Trixie” had filed it the night before.
Every night, one of the characters gets tangled up in string. We were stuck with mountains of twine and it felt bad to just chuck it. So, we decided that Trixie had a thing for orphaned, unwanted string and would find little places all over the set to create string nests.
This is the gargoyle blueprint Max presents to Gwen (created by Kevin Cochran.) It made us giggle. We’ve decided in future productions to make it one big gargoyle that looks suspiciously like Gwen’s father…
This is my grandfather’s briefcase. After his death, it needed a home and this show ended up being the perfect place! I loved having a little bit of him around.
This is the pass thru we’d have to squeeze behind to get from one side of the stage to the other. There is a clean line across the back wall at just chest height from the nights I accidentally wore my push-up bra.
So, there’s a rather vital moment when Vito’s briefcase is needed onstage. After two shows where I completely space cadetted and the cast found themselves onstage scrambling, I left myself this note:
Kevin went to great lengths to print out designs that TF Acrhitects had built. This is Paul’s design for the retirement home… sans Max’s gargoyles…
Kevin built this drafting table from scratch. I went and saw another show set in the same era and I gotta say, he got it spot on…
For on $20 on Amazon, this little beauty can be yours! (You have NO IDEA how hard it is to find affordable roulette wheels…) It spins like a dream, though. Colin started a game where he would start it spinning before a scene and see if it was still going by the time the next scene rolled around. So to speak.
Coins are this show’s glitter. Max throws coins in the general direction of the desk. Just when you think you’ve found them all… you discover you haven’t… There are a few that have already been painted into the floor.
There was a prop left behind by another show and our lighting/sound designer would move him around the theater to see how long it would take for someone to notice.
Trixie’s engagement ring! Handmade of 100% paperclips by Colin Simon and Kevin Cochran!
We gathered up all of the papers left scattered around the set and this is what they added up to. Strangely, it isn’t too much bigger than the stack of filing I had back at my day job…
To try and make me giggle, Colin made up all of the fake project names on the center files and handed them to Trixie one night. I followed up with all of the fake project names on the left. Because I’m a lady.
David Darwin really is a lighting god. He went out and found these practical overhead lights to hang from the “office ceiling” (please note: there are no ceilings in theater) to give the stage the feeling that we really were in an office.
This is our 100%, totally authentic, 1920s Dictaphone found in a barn.
This is the crash pad that Matt would fall onto each night. It originally was our director’s bed… and then our producer’s bed… I have no idea where either of them have been sleeping for the past six weeks…
And then the truck arrived and official load-out began.
Goodbye, furniture! And props! And costumes!
And with that, the walls began to come down. Before we left, the new group had started setting up for the next production and the epoch of Building Madness had come to an end.
Thank you for being along for this journey!