Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Mobile phone prop for BANNED txting

I've always enjoyed making theatre props, especially when it requires technology and a little out of the box thinking. There's a famous story about how Hitchcock placed a battery-operated light within the glass of milk that one of his characters fears is full of poison. The milk glows ominously, emphasizing her suspicions while her motif is played in a minor key. All the characters in Banned! the Musical use their cell phones to txt one another so I wanted to implement the same sort of effect. The timing on these sorts of things is critical so it was important to give each actor the ability to turn on their phone as well as a theater tech the ability to flip all phones on and all phones off.
So it was off to Home Depot to figure out how to make 10 of them. I found some relatively thin puck lights that fit nicely between several electrical wall plates. I used the wall mounting #6 machine screws and a nut to fasten them together. Then I added some foam padding to reduce vibration and stress. Then it was off to the local arts and craft store (Michaels) for some personal design paper with an adhesive backing to differentiate each phone.

Here's a video of the final prototypes working in unison. See you in Edinburgh!