Rehearsal Progress: Snaps from the Props Table
January 15 2012
Howdy. I’m Sam Mayer, the dramaturg for Blackbird’s “Pacific Overtures”. I’ve also been lurking around rehearsals taking pictures and videos and I’ll be sharing it all with you throughout the rehearsal process! Now, though, is the first in a series of shots from the awesome and expansive props table. There are lots of great ceramics, fans, swords, tea sets, and curios being used in the show. It all gets collected on the props table! Here are a few notes on some ceramics.
These little glasses were probably novelty items created recently. However, the images on them make reference to traditional Japanese pop-art, especially the figures of Utamaro. Utamaro (1753-1806) predates the time period of our show, however this means that his art and images would have been widely circulated by the time Perry and the American’s arrived. He published extensively during his lifetime and is unique in that he is the only artist of his time period who received fame while alive. You can find out more about him at the Artcyclopedia
This tea set, although distinctly Chinese, became popular in Western houses around the time of our play (ie: middle to late 1800s). Oriental porcelain became highly prized in the Western world in the late 1700s and imitations started coming soon after, starting in Germany. This tea set, which seems especially British, is in the distinct blue-and-white style. Especially during the Qing dynasty, the exportation of porcelain from China became huge business and it is not unlikely that our friend Kayama, who is so susceptible to Western influence, would have acquired a set not unlike this one. For more beautiful images of blue-and-white porcelain, the China Online Museum has a great database.
This last picture is not a prop, per say, but I noticed it while conducting the interview with Greg Greene posted a few days ago (remember that? ). Blackbird Theater is the theater-in-residence at Lipscomb University and, as such, we get to use their facilities. This is the sink in the scene-shop and, well, it just brought a smile to my face. Accidental art!
That’s it for today. We’ve moved in to the Shamblin Theater, so expect exciting updates soon!