Learn how to turn an old dog toy into a realistic chicken leg for the stage!
Vintage office furniture available to rent through Bygone Theatre.
We recently did a production of His Girl Friday, which meant acquiring a LARGE volume of vintage office furniture and supplies; here’s some of the furniture pieces we now have available to rent.
- Vintage Wood Office Chairs: see individual pictures for details
Rental Price: $20.00 each/wk
- Burgundy Faux Leather Executive Chair: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $30.00/wk
- Small Telephone Desk: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $15.00/wk
- Wood Arts & Crafts and Mid Century Modern Desks: see individual pictures for details
Rental Price: $40.00 each/wk
- Metal Cabinet: see individual picture for details
Rental Price: $15.00/wk
The styles we have available would be suitable for someone looking for something from the 1920s-60s, or something modern day with a vintage twist. Discounts available when renting multiple pieces at once, prices listed are for a single item, before HST.
Stay tuned to see some of the smaller set dressing items we have as well.
Rent vintage appliances for your film, photoshoot, or play. Check out Bygone Theatre for pricing & details.
Bygone Theatre has finally gotten our storage space sorted, which means we are ready to start renting out some of our great vintage pieces! Take a look at some of our larger items here; all prices listed are before HST. Please note that we are able to negotiate payment structures, and that discounts are available when renting multiple items at once. Email us at email@example.com with any questions, or to place an order; we require a minimum of 3 days notice for all prop rentals.
- Vintage Fridge: used in Wait Until Dark, gorgeous late 50s/early 60s white fridge with dusty rose interior. Inside latch has been modified to make for easier opening. Rental Price: $75.00/wk
2. Vintage Stove: used in Wait Until Dark, charming late 1940s white stove with oven.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk
3. Vintage 1950s Ringer Washer: used in Wait Until Dark, white General Electric washing machine with wringer, mid-50s, excellent condition.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk
4. Vintage 1950s Red Mini Fridge: Late 1940s/1950s, bright red mini fridge with chrome handle. Great for a photoshoot, or for a cafe/soda shop look.
Rental Price: $75/week
Stay tuned for much more, including vintage office supplies, props & costumes.
Emily Dix is directing, producing, designing and stage managing HIS GIRL FRIDAY – learn more in her #crewspotlight.
Emily Dix is the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, and is directing, stage managing, designing and producing His Girl Friday. Emily has produced all of Bygone’s shows and directed 5 of the 6, with this now being her 7th.
Bio: Emily Dix is a Toronto based theatre artist, a “jack of all trades” who has worked as a director, producer, stage manager, set & costume designer and performer. In 2008 she moved to the city to attend UofT and quickly became involved with companies on campus, like Victoria College Drama, the UC Follies, St. Mike’s Drama and Hart House Theatre. In 2012, she founded Bygone Theatre, a company which she still runs today as the Artistic Executive Director. Emily has worked as a producer for Theatre 20 and as the assistant producer at Tarragon Theatre, as well as a production assistant for Poculi Ludique Societas, the PR Manager for the Social Capital Theatre, and numerous other freelance positions. In addition to her work in theatre, Emily is a vintage lover and avid collector. She owns an Etsy shop, Tucked Away Antiques, that specializes in small vintage items and digital downloads. Emily has also dabbled in design, making web sites and posters for local artists. For past credits and more information, visit her website, www.emilydix.com.
What made you want to mount His Girl Friday?
While not a conscious decision, I realized that all of the shows Bygone had mounted so far were either dramas, or at the very least rather dark comedies. I never intended for us to stick to style like that so when I was planning our 2016/17 season I knew I wanted a comedy. I had a list of several that had caught my eye, but one day I stumbled across a list of films that were currently in the public domain, and couldn’t believe His Girl Friday was one of them! I was going to write the adaptation myself, but my uncle, Craig Dix, had recently sent me a radio of script of his he’d done, so I asked him if he’d like to do it, and the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”. It’s a great story, with a large and diverse cast, strong female lead AND in the public domain – how could I not want to put it on?
What do you love about the show?
It really is very funny. I love the fast-paced dialogue and the opportunity for cheesy, over-the-top humour. While there are certainly complications with having such a large cast, I did want to be able to include a lot of people, so the size of it appeals to me as well. Plus, I love stories that include a great romance, without it being the central part of the story. It keeps things endearing but not sappy, and makes for a plot everyone can enjoy.
Which role – director, producer, designer, stage manger – have you found most challenging? Why?
I think with this one, I’d have to say director, simply because of the size of the cast. While I did the first round of auditions very early December, it took a very long time to get everything cast; I’m glad I held out for the right actors, but it has been stressful not having the whole group. As producer, it’s always stressful because there is a lot of money on the line, but I feel like I’ve done it enough by now that I have a pretty solid idea of what it takes, and just look at past show reports to calm myself when I start worrying about whether we’ll be able to make rent.
What has been the most rewarding part of the process so far?
Seeing the advances the cast has made. Like I said, big show, lots of fast-talking dialogue, it’s not an easy play. It’s exhausting, especially for the leads. But I’ve got an amazingly talented cast, and every rehearsal they’re leaps and bounds above where they were before, so it’s super fun and rewarding to see them get comfortable in their roles and play with a lot of the silliness that is there in the script. It’s going to be a funny show.
Why should people come and see the show?
It’s so much fun. Fast-paced, goofy, it’ll have you laughing and on the edge of your seat. Not to mention we’ve got a huge cast, so if you’re in the local theatre scene, chances are you know someone involved! Come out and support Toronto Theatre.
Anything else we should know?
Sadly, it’s a very limited engagement, just one weekend. So there are only 5 chances for the public to come and see the show; Thursday March 2, 8:00pm; Friday March 3, 8:00pm; Saturday March 4, 2:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday March 5, 2:00pm. We encourage you to buy your tickets in advance, which can be done through the Native Earth box office, at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday. Hope to see you there!
One of the necessary set pieces for Wait Until Dark is a suitcase with travel stickers, and so I’ve been scouring the internet for some of my favourite mid-century designs.
It’s really unfortunate that these are no longer used by hotels and airways, because some of them were really beautifully designed, and who wouldn’t love a bag covered in them? Personally, I might print off a second set for myself and add them to my own luggage.
I did a post earlier on making authentic props for period pieces, and this is a bit of a continuation of that. Our current production, Rope, is set in 1929 and there is a LOT of drinking in it. Some specific drinks are mentioned, so I’ve been looking into the ingredients for those:
By knowing what ingredients are needed, we know a. what props to have and b. how long it would take to make the drinks. As well, it gives us an idea of how easily they go down, and how much they’d affect the drinker. All this just makes for more realism and helps, I think, with the actor’s character work.
Vintage Liquor Labels
Once I had established what was needed for these drinks I started to look up some vintage labels to affix to the bottles in my prop collection. The variety and detail on some of these is amazing, and so I’ve been able to be picky, choosing ones that catch my eye and even fit our colour scheme; here’s a few that I may be using:
I’ll post some pics of the finished prop bottles when they’re done.
All for now,
Here’s another fun faux food project I learned from Deb Erb at the Stratford Off The Wall Faux Food course.
What You’ll Need:
- Dense styrofoam (the type you use will depend on the type of cake you want. While it can get pricey, Deb suggested asking stores like Home Depot if they have broken pieces or scraps you can have discounted or for free)
- Cutting tools and file
- Super 77 Adhesive Spray
- Acrylic paint
- Benjamin Moore Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane (either Low Lustre or Gloss depending on the effect you want, I used a bit of both – from here on I’ll refer to this as “Stays Clear”. These come in paint cans – you may want to pour it into a smaller container for easier pouring. We used those condiment bottles from the dollar store)
- Non-silicone caulking
- Gel medium
- Spatula, large flat paint brush or jumbo popsicle stick
- For strawberries: artificial plastic strawberries (I see these for sale online, and I suspect that in the right season you can get them at craft stores like Michaels, in the floral section), acrylic paint (red, yellow, orange – to give them a more realistic colour), Stays Clear in gloss.
- For whip cream: see my instructions in this post, or follow the icing instructions, minus the paint.
- Decorative cake plate or doily
- For marachino cherries: see my instructions in this post.
- For sprinkles: see my instructions in this post.
And again, get creative! Try fun foam for chocolate slices, or put a different type of berry on top. Substitute baby powder for icing sugar, or stick on some birthday candles or other topper. You are only limited by the scope of your imagination!
How to Make Your Fake Cake:
1. Prep the styrofoam base
Find a strong, dense styrofoam. If you want a crumbly cake, like carrot cake, go for one with a more textured middle. Decide on the size and shape of your cake. It is best to base it off of a standard cake pan size, so that it looks more realistic; I went with an 8-inch circle. If you can find pre-cut styrofoam in the shape and size you want, great. Otherwise you’ll need to cut it; I cut mine with a bandsaw. You could likely also use an exacto knife, though it would take longer. After you have the shape you want, round off the edges to give it a more realistic shape, like this:
If you want a layered cake, like the one I made, repeat this. You may also choose to have a slice removed from the cake, as I did. Simply cut it out with the same tool you used to cut the initial piece (again, I did this on the band saw). When you are happy with the shape and size of your pieces spray the entire surface of each with Super 77; do not stick them together yet.
2. Create a lift for the top layer
If you are not doing a layered cake, skip to step 3. Cut out some thin foam, like Ethafoam (that thin foam electronics sometimes come wrapped in. This term is also used to described the rounded foam used to seal around windows and doors) to a size just slightly smaller than the size of your cake. You want all the edges showing so that no one notices this foam lift. Attach with Super 77.
3. Paint the “cake”
If you are not taking a slice out of your cake, skip to step 4. Paint the inside of the cake with acrylic paint mixed with a low lustre Stays Clear. To get a realistic effect, it is best to use several shades, sort of sponging some of them on. You can pick out pieces of the styrofoam (before you paint) if you want a crumbly looking cake. I went over parts of mine with a high gloss Stays Clear to give it a moister appearance.
4. Make the “icing”
Mix up some caulking, gel medium, Stays Clear and acrylic paint in whatever colour you want your icing to be. Work with the ingredients until you get a smooth creamy mixture similar to real cake icing. You can add water if necessary. Sometimes if it gets lumpy, it’s easier to thicken it first with caulk, mix out the lumps, and then thin it out with Stays Clear or water, rather than just continuing to thin it.
5. Ice the cake
Starting with your bottom layer (if applicable), apply the icing, being sure to apply a thick, generous amount. It’s up to you whether you go for a more homemade, rustic look (as I did) and leave big, noticable spread marks, or go for something more polished and smooth looking. When you have iced the top of your bottom layer, stick it under the top, and then ice the entire cake, starting with the top and moving onto the sides. You can apply the icing with a thick, flat brush (as I did for most of it), or use a jumbo popsicle stick (I used one for some of the side parts). You could even use a spatula. Just think of it as the same as when icing a real cake.
6. Decorate the cake
I chose to put whip cream and strawberries on mine, but you can really let your imagination go wild here. Look at pictures of cakes online, or better yet, use this as an excuse to buy one and copy it!
To make the strawberries I took artificial plastic ones, and added some depth by painting them a better colour and glazing them. If you can’t find plastic ones, you could likely mold some out of clay (though that may be heavy) or even carve them out of foam, then paint them. The devil’s in the details with this one; be sure to really look at a strawberry and see what’s there. Thinking about adding seeds, making the shape slightly uneven – the closer your copy is the better it will look onstage!
For the whip cream, I used more of the same kind of icing mix, without the pink paint (I did use a bit of creamy white in the mix, but the caulking itself could work as well) and piped it out through a decorative tip. You could use Dry Dex for this but it may be too heavy. Stick the strawberries in while it’s wet.
In the end, you should have something like this:
There’s never enough space in the tiny little programs to say all that I want to about a show, and about all the amazing people who’ve helped to make it happen. I’ve considered doing what some directors do, and making a speech at the end of closing night, but that always felt more like a selfish statement than a good time to thank everyone; no one wants to see the boring old director after seeing the awesome show, and I don’t want to keep the cast and crew from getting out and celebrating. So in an effort to say all my thank-yous, but keep our program from becoming a full length novel, I’ve decided to write here the “director’s cut” version of my notes on “Dial M For Murder”:
First off, to my fellow producer and co-founder of Bygone Theatre; Matt McGrath. Matty is my best friend and my go-to for just about everything in life. When we started this company, he was mostly interested in being involved as an actor, but as the company has grown he has stepped up and taken on some major production roles, most of which he had no prior knowledge of. Matt does everything from scraping together the funds for the show, to working on the set, to going out and putting up hundreds of posters. He essentially functions as an assistant director and I often go to him for advice on scenes or moments in the play, be it just for reassurance or for actual help should I ever find myself stuck. He is an invaluable part of this company, this production, and my life. So many thanks, and a thousand hugs and kisses go to him.
My stage manager Jayden Hsueh has not only take on the dreaded SM tasks like booking rehearsal spaces and working out scheduling issues, but he has stepped up to help with finding props and building sets as well. Jayden is always a happy, positive influence in the room, and his smile (and the cookies and doughnuts he often brings to rehearsals) helps to keep everyone’s energy up. Jayden is motivated and reliable, and I can’t wait to work on another production with him.
Alexis Budd, our fight director, is a great guy to work with. He is smart, funny, and always patient when teaching actors the choreography. He has a creative mind and is great with thinking on the spot, but is always open to suggestions from actors or myself as well. His acting experience helps him not just give tips on how to safely move and fake things like slaps, but on how to really sell it as well. If I ever find myself needing another fight director, he’ll be my first call.
Jackie McClelland is our props master and one of our set designers for this show. I was thrilled to get her, as Jackie is working with increasingly bigger companies and productions, and I worry one day she’ll go off and leave us behind! Jackie is clever and a great problem solver, and has worked out all our props issues. She has a great eye, and is a fun and positive person to work with; I hope we’ll get the chance to do another show together again soon.
Mike Bazzocchi is an amazing builder. He has a unique background that includes engineering and acting, so he not only knows the practical elements required in making a set, he knows what will look good and what the actors will need as well. He’s quick on his feet, positive, and great at explaining things to those of us with no design knowledge. I hope to be able to give him a more creative set to design one day, as I know he is capable of coming up with really original ideas as well as making something that looks like an authentic 1950s living room. He makes me laugh, and I always feel confident any task left to him will be done, and done well. Thank you for that.
My mother Karen Henderson made not just our lovely pinch pleat curtains, but all of Margot’s dresses as well, which not only saved us a lot of money (and me a lot of time), but meant that we could have authentic 1950s dresses that fit our actor perfectly. She is a life-saver as her sewing expertise means I can pick out virtually any pattern and fabric, for any actor, and leave her to do all the hard work of actually making the thing! Every time we do a show and I pile more and more costumes on, she swears it’ll be the last time, but hopefully it doesn’t actually come to that as her costumes are a big part of what makes our shows look great.
Reg Matson is our technical director (and Inspector Hubbard, but I’ll get to that), and has helped me to solve problems from how to run sound from strange spots onstage, to what should be done with the lights. Reg not only has vast theatre knowledge, he has a great artistic mind. He never tells someone what they should do, but asks them questions and helps them to figure out what it is they really want to achieve. He’s been an amazing positive influence in so many ways these past few months, and I know we’ll continue to work together in the future.
Nicole Byblow chose all the lovely period music for the show. Nicole and I first met when doing “Retro Radio Hour”, and I’m so glad to have found not just a talented performer, but a fellow Judy lover as well! Nicole has a great ear and a real understanding of the period, so she’s certainly someone I will work with again. She’s a fun and sweet person, and great at everything she does.
Janice Li is our high school production assistant, and has helped with everything from sitting in on auditions, to making the bricks for the exterior wall, to doing random tasks like coffee runs and sweeping the stage. She’s always up to any task we give her, and I think she will do well as she goes off to focus in production design. I hope she’s managed to learn someone along the way, or at the very least had some fun – we’ve certainly needed all her help!
There have been dozens of people who have helped out with things along the way, and I hope I can remember them all here, so thank you to;
My aunt, Heather Henderson, who donated all our concession items and helped to make the cast t-shirts.
My sister, Rebecca Dix, who worked on the display boards, the concessions, and running Front of House.
My father, Kevin Dix, who shuttled around props, costumes, and concessions, driving up from Waterloo to do so.
Our former producer, Tom Beattie, who donated funds, supplies, and his time to this show.
Brian and Margaret McGrath, Matt’s parents, who donated both money to the show, and allowed us to use their garage to build the set, while putting up with not just the noisy actors and the mess, but with feeding all of us as well!
Danielle Son who took lovely photos of the show.
Kyle Pearson, K. Nolan, and Chris Ross who all came to help out with the load-in.
UC Follies, who helped with both cross-promotions, and who leant us space and props for the show.
Orphaned Egret Productions, Newborn Theatre, BeMused, and Hart House Theatre, who all helped to promote the show.
Jesse Watts, who was the first to make a donation to “Dial M For Murder”.
Noa Katz and Deb Lim who are assisting backstage.
The staff at the Robert Gill Theatre; the late Lou Massey who helped with our initial set-up, Paul Stoesser who helped in running tech week, Teo Balcu who took the lead in our lighting design, and Vanita Butrsingkorn who assisted in all sorts of backstage and technical elements during tech week.
TAPA, TO Tix, and The Robert Gill Theatre for all the help and support.
Insomnia Restaurant and Lounge for sponsoring our opening night after party.
And, last but not least, my fabulous cast.
I’m so happy to have met Leete Stetson. He is a talented actor and a wonderful friend, and I thank him for all his support and advice on and offstage. We became friends while acting together in Hart House’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and quickly discovered a mutual love of musicals, and a lot of similar tastes. While he and I may disagree on some fundamental theatre things (like bare walls versus a full set), the debates are always friendly and useful. I know I will work with him again, and can’t wait to see what amazing character he does next.
Rebekah has been a total joy to work with. Every note I give her she takes and acts on immediately; she started out as Margot looking and sounding great, but the progression I’ve seen her make through the rehearsal process has really been astounding. She’s turned what could have been a 2-dimensional, typical 1950s housewife into a complex and compelling character, and she makes these changes with such ease that it’s clear she’s one to watch out for. On top of her talent onstage, Rebekah has helped with things like hemming pants, and has offered to pick up the slack wherever it’s needed. I hope we will work together again as she is a lady of many talents, and a very sweet girl to boot.
When I first met Kenton I hoped that he would be as talented as he was sweet and charming, because after 30 seconds of talking to him you know he’s someone you want to work with. Lucky for me, he was. Kenton takes initiative not just with learning and running lines, but with running warm-ups with the group as well. He has amazing stage presence, and is a total joy to watch. A man of many talents, I know he will go far, and I just hope that before he gets too big I have another chance to work with him! All that energy he has is bound to come in handy as he is one who I think will find himself constantly working.
As an actor, Reg is thoughtful and deliberate. He has a very analytical approach to acting, and often pauses to talk through the motivations of all the characters onstage. He is clever and committed, and I love to watch him go through his process as it often brings out new and interesting moments in the show.
Jason has been a total joy to work with, because he is a kind, thoughtful and genuine human being as well as being a talented actor. Despite having a relatively short amount of time onstage, Jason has been at nearly every rehearsal and has helped with things like being on book, or reading for someone who wasn’t there. He’s always quick to offer assistance with anything, and is always in a positive mood. He takes notes to heart, and has created in Lesgate a truly disturbing character that is so far from his real self that it is a testament to how good an actor he really is.
Despite being onstage for only about a minute in this show, Ian has shown up to all the rehearsals and stayed attentive, offering suggestions, advice and questions throughout the process. He has truly taken the “there are no small parts, only small actors” motto to heart and has created several distinct characters for his brief phone conversations. He has been helpful by being on book and keeping track of actors blocking while he’s not onstage, and has always been a positive influence in the room. And with a voice like his, there’s no doubt he’ll find himself more work in theatre, or radio!
To everyone who helped in anyway, be it by working on the show directly or just being someone to talk to when the stress levels got high, thank you. And to everyone who came out to see all our hard work, thank you – none of this could happen without you.
Janice Li is our Production Intern and helping out behind-the-scenes on “Dial M For Murder”.
Janice graduated high school this year, and is going to Sheridan College in the fall. She hopes to work as a production designer for film one day. She spends her spare time doodling and re-watching the X-Men trilogy.
1. How did you get started with production assisting?
With Bygone Theatre, to be honest. This is my first time working as a production assistant.
2. What is your favourite part of the creative process?
Whatever part involves hands-on stuff.
3. What are some challenges you face working as a production assistant?
Working on a theatre production for the first time, and learning the ropes!
4. Any advice for other people looking to pursue production assisting?
Google is your best friend. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way.
5. What are you most excited for in regards to “Dial M For Murder”?
All of it.
The other day I wrote a post about how to remove the tarnish from old brass things, and today I’m going to do the opposite and try to make a faux tarnished look on some cheap dollarstore trophies! Time to get down and dirty with a sharpie and some paint.
I started off with this plastic trophy; $1.50 from Dollarama:
It’s got the right shape, it’s light weight, can’t break, and but-by-gosh the price is right, but it’s got a cheap shiny finish that looks plastic, even from a distance.
Now, these trophies are supposed to be a few years old (after all Tony Wendice retired from tennis a year ago, so they are all at least a year old) but they aren’t ancient, so I don’t want them to be too tarnished or rusted or anything. Since I have a few of the same style, I thought I’d try to show them aged differently, as though he’s won the same tournament a few years in a row.
My first step with the older looking one was to add some dark tarnished looking bits around the details. I started off with a sharpie to get it exactly where I wanted:
I also dulled down the gold with a bit of silver sharpie. It doesn’t show up well in a photo, but basically all it did was make it a little less shiny, while still looking metallic.
Next, for some broader strokes, I got out the black paint. I applied it using a very dry, rough brush, and added layers slowly, often wiping some away with a kleenex. Tarnish builds over time, so you need to take the time with this step as well! It should look layered in a way.
I put that one aside for a bit, and started on the newer looking one. For this, I still wanted to get rid of the shine, but not by using as much black, so I got out some metallic paint that I had: Dynamic Metallic Latex Paint by Paint Wizard. It had more of a sparkly finish rather than a glossy look (though of course not like glitter, that would look worse). I sort of sponged that on, like this:
This kept it looking warm, but a bit more like a metal. Since it’s also supposed to be aged, I added some black paint to this as well, but not as much as on the first one. The final products look like this:
Admittedly, up close they are still not as good as buying a vintage metal one, but as those run you nearly $100 a pop, and these cost me under $5 and only about 20 minutes to make, I think this is a better solution. I still need to change the base, but that should be as simple as putting a different, less colourful plaque on the front.
Stay tuned for more!