Concocting a Labratory | Interview with Props Master

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Dr. Jekyll’s Lab

Evelyn Pearson, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Props Master, reveals some secrets and insight into Dr. Jekyll’s lab in the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde play. While you may not know Evelyn too well yet, as this is her first year as Props Master with Nashville Repertory Theatre, you will soon learn she is incredibly detailed in all the props she makes or compiles for our shows. She was with us last year as our Professional Props Intern, so you may remember many of the props from last season that she worked on.

Evelyn Pearson Props Master

Dr. Jekyll's Lab FAQ

 How many bottles are on the lab?

72 Labeled Bottles 50 Little Vials 15 Chemical Sacks in the cabinet area

How did you manage to keep all those bottles on the lab when it’s rolling in and out all the time?

All the bottles and vials were individually stuck to the shelves with Mortite, a brand of rope caulk. Evelyn and Kristen Rosengren, Nashville Rep’s Master Carpenter, spent a good two hours insuring there would be no spillage or breakage during the performances.

 What was your inspiration for the laboratory?

Dr. Jekyll's Labratory

 When Gary C. Hoff, our Head of Design/Scenic Designer, and Evelyn Pearson, Props Master, got together to discuss Dr. Jekyll’s lab, they wanted it to represent a standard Victorian lab. Not only does it have all the standard lab materials and ingredients of the Victorian era, but all the bottles and vials have a substance that looks like what the labels indicate are inside. Mostly in the vials and bottles are flour, water, water with food coloring, sugar, and cornstarch, and it took about half a day to fill them all. The main goal for being so detailed is to ensure the audience is not distracted by the (potentially incorrect) tiny details.

One specific fact Hoff and Pearson double-checked on before installing into the lab was electricity. The original design of the lab included a hanging lamp, but electricity was not widely available in 1883 London. Fun Fact: The first single place to be lit by electricity was a theatre in New York. A picture of the anatomy of the brain by Christopher Wren, a Victorian Period Architect, was instead hung in the lamp’s spot. The drawing, or rendering, of the brain was originally drawn for Thomas Willis' 300 page book, Cerebri Anatome, or The Anatomy of the Brain. Hoff and Pearson thought this fit due to Dr. Jekyll’s belief in no soul and heavy interest in the mind.

Play Synopsis: On the fog-bound streets of Victorian-era London, Henry Jekyll experiments with exotic “powders and tinctures” that have brought forth his other self—Edward Hyde, a sensualist and villain, free to commit the sins Jekyll is too civilized to comprehend. As Jekyll himself falls prey to Hyde’s control, the audience is taken along for the moral questions that arise as sympathy for Hyde and contempt for Dr. Jekyll challenge the traditional roles of good and evil. Which one will you sympathize with?

Nashville Repertory Theatre’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde plays October 13 – November 3, 2012 with preview performances October 11 & 12, 2012.

Rated: High School and above Visit http://nashvillerep.org/dr-jekyll-mr-hyde to get you and your bad self’s tickets today! Or call the TPAC box office at (615) 782-4040

For information about Prop Rentals, please visit our Props Rentals Page.

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