Syracuse Stage’s Washable Ink Recipe
Syracuse Stage’s Washable Ink Recipe

Ink That Will Not Stain, Washable Ink from Syracuse Stage

From Jessica Culligan

Jessica Culligan is a Prop Artisan at Syracuse Stage. A recent production of Pride and Prejudice, called for a bit of stage business that potentially would be a prop headache. The Lizzie Bennet character spills ink on her dress and the prop department was tasked with coming up with an ink solution that would wash out of the dress. A dress that first stays on stage long enough for the stain to begin drying and letting the ink solution soak into the costume. We asked Culligan to share the recipe of their washable ink with our Stage Directions readers:

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Armillary sphere circa 1775 made by Charles Lincoln in London (photo:National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection)
Armillary sphere circa 1775 made by Charles Lincoln in London (photo:National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection)

Curators of Everyday Objects: The Work of Prop Masters

Larry Heyman

In Uncle Vanya, a character comes onstage, moves to the sideboard and takes the small brass teapot from its perch atop a samovar. She adds tea, decants water from the spout on the side, pauses and pours tea into a low, wide teacup. The cup is large, not modern, with a matching saucer... and on the edge of the saucer she places a large lump of sugar. When the tea is served, the lump is placed carefully in one’s mouth, as one sips the hot, dark tea. It’s a ritual. It is something no longer done. But to someone in the audience, it is a memory. A tiny piece of a long-forgotten reality.

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Jay Duckworth and Michelle Bisbee at USITT 2018
Jay Duckworth and Michelle Bisbee at USITT 2018

Talking Props at USITT with Jay Duckworth

Stage Directions

Last year at USITT 2018, SD contributor and proptologist Jay Duckworth, resident properties master at The Public Theater, hosted the first ever Prop Lab on the USITT Stage Expo floor. While there we invited him to interview a few of his fellow props masters, who he had invited to join him teaching prop workshops. Here are three of Jay's USITT Conversations with Adam Daley, Eric Hart, & Michelle Bisbee.

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Two Sides of the Coin...that you made!

Jay Duckworth

Props Master; Props Teacher
There comes a time in a prop person’s career where they have to show an actor how to pull off a trick. It’s sometimes very simple like drawing a sword properly or not using the sword as a cane by leaning on it. These may sound like common sense points, but they all fall under a blanket of teaching. As technicians, we sometimes assume the people know skills that we use every day, but actors who do ask questions about replicating the actions of a skill are being honest with us because they want to know how to do this correctly as if they are someone who’s had that skill all their life. 

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