prop Design Challenges

Designs generously sponsored by The Globe Theatre

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Prop Design "Magic Knife" Challenge - Featuring the work of Propmakers:

 

  • Damien James Webb

  • Grahame Kent

  • Kenn McLeod

  • Lexi Rennebohm

 

Propmakers were challenged to make a "Magic Knife". It is up to each designer to determine what makes a knife "magic".

2021 "Magic Knife" Prop Designs

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The Magic Shiv - Damien James Webb

Although it may look the part, this prison shiv is actually custom built for the stage. It uses a retractable toy knife as its internal mechanism to allow the blade to disappear into the handle (hence the magic).

 

Then, a custom blade made using a paint stick and some aluminum tape, Dressed the handle with gaff tape, gave the blade a bit of grunge using paint, and voila…Magic Shiv!

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The Wyrd Witan Ceremonial Knife – Grahame Kent

 

“By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.”

 

When I was asked to be a part of this festival, I was very excited to take part. When I was told to create a Magic Knife, my imagination went wild. It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Dungeons and Dragons and anything high fantasy. I love the magic and mystery that items can have in DnD, so I decided to take my Magic Knife in that direction. As my mind was spinning on potential designs, I was struck by an idea that I could not let go of: The Three Witches from The Scottish Play, I needed to make a knife for them.
So I ran with that idea, what would a ceremonial knife look like for those Witches? I went with earthy tones to evoke a connection to the earth and nature. The blade of this knife is made of Sculpey that I sculpted and painted to look like hammered bronze. Finally I wanted to have the knife to have an ethereal side to it, so I used phosphorescent paint that will glow for a moment in the dark after being on stage (or maybe enter in darkness while glowing) or can be lit up with a blacklight while on stage.
The Runes on the blade are Dwarven Runes from Dungeons and Dragons (I tried to warn you that I am a nerd!) so for a bit of a game, feel free to look them up to read what is on the blade!

I named the knife in honour of the Witches from The Scottish Play, they are otherwise known The Wayward Sisters or the Weird Sisters. Wyrd is an old English spelling of Weird and it means fate or personal destiny.  A Witan is an Anglo-Saxon council, or a type of gathering. So, this is a Wyrd Witan Ceremonial Knife.

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“The Unseen Dagger” – Kenn McLeod

 

“Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.”

  • MacBeth, Act II Scene i

 

As a theatre maker, clown, and amateur magician, one of my favorite parts of theatre is simple and effective “Stage Magic”. I like to be thrilled by the trickery on stage while trying to figure out “how did they do that” from my place in the audience.

 

I began my exploration of the idea of a magic knife in a lot of directions. At one point, I was thinking about just submitting an empty box and telling everyone that the real magic of the knife was that it is completely invisible. In the end that may not have been as satisfying. So I started toying with how to make something a bit magical. I settled on creating a glowing spectral dagger like the one that so haunts MacBeth on his rise to power.

 

So using ¼” Acrylic plate, wood, leather, model paint, 2AA batteries, and 6’ of copper string LED lights, “The Unseen Dagger” was manifested.

 

Adorned with Celtic and Pagan symbols including the Triquetra (the three-pointed Star/Knot), which represents both the cycle of Life/Death/Rebirth, and is sometime seen as a symbol of The Triple Goddesses like the Sisters of Fate, the Norse Norns, or the three Witches. The knife itself can be switched on and, when in low light conditions, emanates a ghostly amber aura. It also has a few metal pieces embedded that could be used as magnetic rigging points in order to fly the blade.

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“Blood Oath Knife” – Lexi Rennebohm

Magic Knife...open to your interpretation…

Narrowing down my interpretation to what a Magic Knife could be was more difficult than expected. My mind swirled through different forms of magic from magician’s props to a mythical creature’s weapon. I considered cultural pieces from my family history such as the Sgian Dubh and thinking of family my mind easily slipped to my children.

Over this past year I witnessed my children have their schooling stopped (then started, then stopped…), their extra curriculars stopped, went through multiple isolations, and waited as family members got sick hoping for full recovery. I figured out my knife. I wanted to create this prop as a dedication to them... With this I present to you the “Blood Oath Knife”.

 

The “Blood Oath Knife” acts as a witness to a statement of fact or a promise, to the owner of the knife. The magic is activated by a small slice upon one hand of each person involved in the oath. Once the oath is sealed with a handshake it will forever be monitored by the knife.

 

The “Blood Oath Knife” is a bone handled, damascus steel blade knife. Both handle and blade are adorned with pearls with delicate metal embellishing the handle. The telepathic glass eyeball feature at the butt of the knife can see all and will warn the owner if an oath has been broken. Once warned, the owner can gaze into the eyeball to see the breach of oath. With this I say to my children Sadie and Mack, “I make my oath to you; to protect you, educate you, entertain you but most of all love you.”

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Damien James Webb

Most recently employed as Globe Theatre’s Design Archivist and Maquette Restoration Technician, Damien has a vast talent pool when it comes to putting on a show. With a diploma from Grant MacEwan University for Theatre Production, he specializes in prop and set design. He has, however, held the positions of Production Assistant, Props Fabricator, Production Designer, Set Construction, Assistant TD, Assistant Head of Props, and also has a background in a myriad of other professions. Damien is a man of many hats, but when he’s not working in theatre he is also a highly accomplished Miniature Artist who has his work on display in both public and private collections all over the world. You can follow all of his exploits at @damienjameswebb on any and all social media!

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Grahame Kent

A Treaty 6 based theatre artist, Grahame wears a lot of hats; working as a  performer, writer, producer, designer, voice artist, editor, dramaturg, director and stage manager. Grahame is very excited to be creating with the very first SK Theatre Design Festival! Grahame is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a BFA in Acting and a graduate of the Globe Theatre Conservatory. Grahame is the Artistic Producer of Buttered Ghost Theatre. Grahame is an active member with The Sketchy Bandits and a part time DM for a few games of DnD. If you like podcasts, check out Dr. Frightful Presents: A Podcast which is created, produced and curated by Grahame. Available wherever you listen to podcasts.Find out more at grahamekent.com

Kenn McLeod

Kenn is a director, performer, educator, and Clown. He received his BFA in Acting at the University of Regina and his MFA in Directing from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Kenn has trained with The North American Cultural Laboratory (New York), Vancouver Circus School (Vancouver), Dell Arte International School of Physical Theatre (California), Old Trout Puppet Workshop (Alberta), and The Manitoulin Center for Creation and Performance (Ontario). He was also the artistic director of Hectik Theatre (Regina) and Souris Valley Theatre (Estevan), a founding member of Combat Improv, and a founding member of the Prairie Puppet Underground. He i s currently a sessional instructor for the University of Saskatchewan Drama Department and Co-Artistic director of Sorry/GratefulTheatre i n Saskatoon. He i s proud to be a Saskatchewan artist.

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Lexi Rennebohm

Lexi Rennebohm is a theatre artist from Regina, SK located on Treaty 4 Territory. Lexi has over a decade of experience in theatre and film in Saskatchewan working on props and sets. Lexi studied Technical Theatre at the University of Regina and held the position of Head of Props at Globe Theatre since the start of the 2016 season. Lexi has worked on some of the most successful Globe productions, alongside some of the most talented theatre artists from across Canada. Excited to get her hands dirty and put her skills to use again, Lexi is honoured to be included in the inaugural SK Theatre Design Festival. Thank you to all the event volunteers and sponsors.