Props are widely used in the world of theatre. These props are an important part of production in both amateur and professional theatre. To understand a prop, it is basically an item that is not a part of the costumes or the set. And just because a prop isn’t part of the set, it doesn’t make it any less vital. An example of this might be a hand prop that is important to the story.
Props have a long and interesting history. We know this because there’s evidence the ancient Greeks made use of props. Modern theatre productions make extensive use of a wide variety of props.
It’s also worth noting that hand props are not the only type of prop that a theatre uses. In fact, there are many different types of props in theatre. These include the following:
- Personal props
- Hand props
- Set props
- Dressing props
- Special effects
What Do Props Do?
Set designers use props to set a specific scene, which is done by giving the props to the actors. But it is also by placing them in certain places around the set. Many props help with mechanical special effects. This means that such props might not always be visible to the audience. Similar props might just add extra lighting or a particular aesthetic. Props can also assist actors with their work, but much preparation is needed beforehand. This is part of why actors need to practise for so many hours.
Actors might have their own, personal props. These kinds of props will be important for the growth of the character. It’s also common to have props around the scene that contribute to the overall mood. A prop like this might be in the form of a mushroom in a forest scene, as an example. The skull in the play Hamlet is a well-known hand prop. Not only does it fit the aesthetic of the scene, but it also helps drive the story forward.
A prop will often be a part of the audience. Chairs placed within the seating are considered a type of prop. Many set designers believe that musical instruments are also props.
The Types Of Props
Now that you know what props do, it’s time to look at the different types. It’s worth remembering that props often have multiple uses. These are some of the more common theatre props:
- Hand prop: A prop that an actor It includes weapons, books, foods, and other times.
- Personal prop: A personal prop is an item that is particularly unique to a character.
- Set prop: Set props set the overall scene. Think of an online pokies machine set in a casino-themed play.
- Greens: Greens consist of plants, both artificial and live ones.
- Special effect props: Special effect props that are mechanical in nature. These props don’t plug into outlets.
- Breakaway props: This special prop will break under certain conditions. It will either be brittle or is designed to break on cue. Hot glue is frequently part of a breakaway prop.