Bygone Theatre Rentals – Office Furniture

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.

 

  1. Vintage Wood Office Chairs: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $20.00 each/wk
  2. Burgundy Faux Leather Executive Chair: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $30.00/wk
  3. Small Telephone Desk: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $15.00/wk
  4. Wood Arts & Crafts and Mid Century Modern Desks: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $40.00 each/wk
  5. 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.

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Bygone Theatre Rentals – Appliances

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 info@bygonetheatre.com with any questions, or to place an order; we require a minimum of 3 days notice for all prop rentals.

  1. 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

Bygone Theatre - 1950s Wringer Washer Rental

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

Bygone Theatre Red Mini Fridge

Stay tuned for much more, including vintage office supplies, props & costumes.

Set Design Inspiration – Mid Century Modern

When dressing a period set it is important to have not only a good grasp of what was actually popular and available during the period, but also an idea of what most audiences will associate with it. “Mid Century Modern” is a huge decor trend right now, and so those looking to set a show in the 1950s or 60s are in luck – there are lots of vintage and new pieces available that fit the style, for a range of costs.

When trying to capture the essence of an era, I usually focus on a few key things:

  1. Silhouette: What sort of general styles and silhouettes were common, and where can we find those in both vintage and modern pieces?
  2. Colour: What colours were popular at the time? And in particular, what colour schemes would have been used then that are rarely used today?
  3. Accents: Are there any accent pieces (lamps, phones, statues, vases etc.) that are frequently associated with the decade?

I then research a bunch of photos and hit the thrift shops. While it is always fun to go to vintage and antique stores, I generally find that, for one, the costs there can be high and two, since those pieces are actually old they frequently look too worn to be used in a set that is meant to be of that time. Often times, the best solution is to go through thrift stores and see what more recent pieces can be recycled and reworked to fit the desired decade. But before I get to the little details, I start with the first thing the audience will spot: the colour.

The Mid Century Palette: 1950s and 1960s Colour Schemes

While many of the colours popular during the 50s and 60s are seen in homes today, the big difference is in how they weren’t afraid to mix lots of bold, contrasting colours, whereas we tend to tone them down with neutrals. Let your colours speak to the tone of your show; doing a drama? Why not try for a deep, forest green with red and golden accents? Have a cheerier, lighter mood in mind? Pastels were popular and can look stunning onstage. Don’t be afraid to play with unique colour combinations, and when in doubt, a quick google search will come up with some mid century colour palettes you can choose from. If you have the opportunity, one of the best ways to get a real retro look is to incorporate the bold carpet colours of the decade (though of course we don’t all have the resources to cover our stage floor).

 

The Mid Century Silhouette: 1950s and 60s Furniture

One of the most easily recognized features of the mid century furniture silhouette is the thin, tapered wooden legs. Often stained to look like teak, they sometimes had a metal cap at the bottom, and are relatively easy to replicate should you not be able to find an actual vintage piece. Eames-styled chairs, with thin wooden arms and legs and tailored, boxy cushions were also popular. I often find pieces from the 1980s that, from a distance, can work in a mid century set.

The Mid Century Vibe: 1950s and 60s Accent Pieces

The fun part of dressing a mid century set is hunting for little accent pieces that can really bring the whole thing together. Try to think of things that, not only have the right look for the decade, but that can be usable onstage. People in the 1950s and 60s smoked and drank more than most of us do today, so investing in a bar, some ashtrays and some retro glassware may be worth the while. A vintage lamp will instantly stand out as something not-of-this-decade and so can be a good choice as well. And of course, who doesn’t like to add a few vases or some kitschy ceramics? They are fun, often cheap, and help the overall vintage vibe of your set.

Bygone’s Mid Century Set: Dial m For Murder

In August of 2013, Bygone Theatre produced Frederick Knott’s “Dial M For Murder”, setting the show in 1956. While the set was simple, some vintage elements (along with some new, “vintage styled” elements) quickly conveyed a retro vibe.

DSC_0752In this shot you can see several key pieces:

1. The Bar – this vintage find cost us $100 and is currently in our living room. It was worth the splurge as it was a key piece in the show an a great spot for stage business.

2. The “Vintage” Couch – while this is actually our old living room couch (bought new at a futon store in downtown Toronto a few years before) the boxy, tailored style fit it in perfectly to our 50s living room. A couple bright accent pillows were added to bring it into our whole “martini” colour scheme

3. The “Vintage” Coffee Table – I suspect this table is actually from the 80s, because unlike a true mid century one from he 50s or 60s, it is made of particle board and plastic, not teak. I found it for $20 on kijiji and it is currently our living room table

4. The 1950s Lamp with Fibreglass Shade – another splurge at $100, but one I think was completely worth it. This lamp is so perfectly 50s, and that fibreglass shade stands out beautifully onstage. We used it a lot for practical lighting, so that was good as well. This too has made its way into our regular living room furniture.

When dressing a period set on the cheap, it is important to think about what the audience will really see. Yes, you can likely find a beautiful vintage Eames-styled chair, but at what cost? Our used couch had the right shape and colour, and worked great. Lots of 1980s furniture has the look of mid century modern from a distance, but is much cheaper as it is made of plastic or metal, rather than solid wood. Again, great onstage. If you keep your colour scheme retro and throw in a couple well-picked vintage knick knacks (we used quite a bit of Blue Mountain Pottery, cheap, and made it look like something Margot collected), you can avoid having to purchase too many things. Try to think of pieces that could be used in other shows, or other periods as well. Remember, just because something is set in the 1950s, doesn’t mean the character’s can’t have a few older “inherited” pieces as well. It’s all about balance. In this show, we paid particular attention to the costumes, which also allowed us to go a bit simpler on the set. In dressing a period show on the cheap, remember that, while you may put in the time researching exactly what is accurate for the year (I know I did!) most audiences won’t know the difference between something from 1950 and 1960. Play with what you can find and you’ll realize that a period set can be a lot of fun, and a lot simpler than it may initially appear.

E.

 

Theatre Magic: Brick by Brick

Our Production Assistant Janice Li was interested in learning some theatre production techniques, so set designer Jackie McClelland taught her how to make some inexpensive fake bricks for the exterior flat for “Dial M For Murder”.

Jackie started out by giving Janice this simple design: Window Flat exterior.

Janice’s first step was to cut out a bunch of cardboard “bricks” – keeping the size consistent was important, but the edges could look rough, just like real bricks.

Start off with some cardboard

We got this cardboard for free – 3 cheers for recycling!

Then Janice painted them all using Krylon Make It Stone paint (Jackie chose “Charcoal Sand”, but there are several different colours available.

IMG_0085

Painted with Krylon Make It Stone paint

Jackie stressed that, like real bricks, there could be some small imperfections, but that it should still cover as much as possible.

IMG_0087

The painted “bricks”

In the end, we had a very inexpensive, easy-to-do brick wall, as you can see here:

The finished product onstage

The finished product onstage

Of course there are many ways to achieve a similar effect;

I found an excellent post on how to make a very realistic faux brick wall, something that looks considerably harder but would be great it if was to be seen up close. That method is probably more for interior design than set design.

Another great post shows a similar but more labour-intensive version of what we’ve done, swapping out the cardboard for styrofoam which can be given a more “brick-like” texture.

And of course if you have more money, but less time, you can opt for the paintable wallpaper or panels, like they use in this post.

I’ve also seen especially skilled artists do amazing effects with just paint alone, but with all the great things you can use for depth and texture (not to mention my abysmal painting abilities) I don’t think I’d be trying that any time soon.

Do you have a great faux brick method you want to share? Leave a link in the comments.

-E.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Janice Li

Janice Li is our Production Intern and helping out behind-the-scenes on “Dial M For Murder”.

Production Assistant Janice Li.

Production Assistant Janice Li.

Bio

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.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Michael Bazzocchi

Michael has worked with Director Emily Dix before, but this is his first time working with Bygone Theatre. Michael is one of our set designers for “Dial M For Murder”.

Set Designer Michael Bazzocchi.

Set Designer Michael Bazzocchi.

Bio: Michael Bazzocchi has been designing sets for international competition and theatre for the past five years. He is beginning a Masters of Applied Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto, having just completed an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering (BASc in Eng.Sci) at U of T. Most recently, Michael’s set design for a cloud factory received 1st Place at the Destination Imagination Global Finals competition for its unique incorporation of mechanical movement and bubbles into a 16ft tall semi-trapezium dome. Michael has experience designing sets for a variety of architectural and theatrical styles including large artistic set pieces in the Victorian, Gothic, Greek and Seussical styles.  He particularly enjoys enhancing dramatic performances through the innovative incorporation of mechanical components into his set designs. In his spare time Michael also enjoys doing community service. Michael is the current President and one of the founding members of the Trek for Teens Foundation for homeless youth. Michael is very excited to be involved in Bygone Theatre’s production of Dial M for Murder and looks forward to working with the cast and production team to develop a very entertaining and professional show.