Zen and the Art of Properties

Sanded the teeth of the headbands down so they wouldn’t catch on wigs. Extended the straps of the children’s sized riot guard helmets using ribbon and snaps so they wouldn’t look so ridiculous on adult heads. Made a scoreboard look more ridiculous by making one of its score beams spill out over its edge. Kissed those perfect cameras goodbye. The ones we labored for and talked about for months. They wont be in the show.

Some things you leave messy because no one will see them from twenty feet away. Some hidden things you make perfect because you are a professional and take pride in your work. Constraints and your gut tell you which strategy to choose.

You’ll make mistakes. Other people will make mistakes. Strokes of luck, acts of God, and the indefatigable aspects of everyday life will all play their part. And you will choose.

You will choose the color, the texture, the material, the cost. You will choose how to respond to that person, to say yes, to say no. You will fight to keep some props in, you will fight to let some go. Sometimes you’ll roll with the punches. Sometimes you wont.

One day, the show will open, or the shoot will be over. One day, your work on this production will be done. Will you feel centered? Will you feel the same as before? Will you feel numb?

Pay attention. Watch the shadow cast by your habits’ sudden halt. If you have been present throughout this journey, the shadow will show you who you now are. The objects have been made. They will be used, transformed, destroyed, or abandoned. You, on the other hand, will follow you wherever you are.


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