A prop made for the Wicked Witch of the West during the 2009 24 Hour Charity Musical.
Keywords: props, cardboard models
The 24 Hour Charity Musical, which took place on the 16th and 17th of March in 2009, is a biennial event hosted by the Sheffield University Theatre Company (SuTCo) that aims to stage a musical within literally a day: once the title is announced, the crew only have 24 hours to assemble their cast, set up the stage, lighting and sound, prepare scenery, costumes and props, rehearse, and put it all together into a musical.
I was on the props team. We were given a list and orders to make, buy, borrow or purloin all the required props before showtime. Most items on that list we found in shops or borrowed off people: tights, a hairbrush, a basket, a toy dog etc. Oddly enough, the one thing we couldn't find was a broom! It was late; the 24 hours started at 7pm, and by the time we'd admitted defeat it was past midnight. Our team leader went on a raid of the 'Bar One secret cellar' that reputedly housed all the broken doodads you could ever dream of, and sure enough, returned with a sturdy mop handle. "We'll have to make our own," she sighed.
Challenge accepted! I volunteered since I was still alert and intrigued by the task. Stepping over snoring sleeping bags, I crept through the halls of the Octagon gathering corrugated cardboard. As always I did a prototype first - it didn't work. I'd sliced the cardboard along the grain and the strips turned out too stiff to bind to the pole. Thus I decided to do it the 'French seam' way: I cut/tore longer strips across the grain, lined them up around the pole, bound one end with duct tape, bound it again further up the pole, then bended the strips down and secured them with a final ring of duct tape.
The finished product looked distinctly broom-shaped and suitably gnarled. I trimmed the 'twigs' to give it some character and handed it in. From what I was told afterwards, the Wicked Witch of the West was very pleased with her broom and even took it home after the show!