SRJC Course Outlines

2/7/2023 4:25:31 PMTHAR 127.3 Course Outline as of Fall 2021

Changed Course

Discipline and Nbr:  THAR 127.3Title:  PROPS WKSHP FOAM/FOOD  
Full Title:  Properties Workshop: Foam Carving and Food Properties
Last Reviewed:4/26/2021

UnitsCourse Hours per Week Nbr of WeeksCourse Hours Total
Maximum2.00Lecture Scheduled1.0017.5 max.Lecture Scheduled17.50
Minimum2.00Lab Scheduled3.008 min.Lab Scheduled52.50
 Contact DHR0 Contact DHR0
 Contact Total4.00 Contact Total70.00
 Non-contact DHR0 Non-contact DHR Total0

 Total Out of Class Hours:  35.00Total Student Learning Hours: 105.00 

Title 5 Category:  AA Degree Applicable
Grading:  Grade Only
Repeatability:  00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP
Also Listed As: 

Catalog Description:
Untitled document
This course provides intermediate instruction in the skills involved in the design, coordination, and construction of stage properties (commonly called props), with a focus on foam carving and theatrical food properties preparation and construction skills. Students will work on focus-related projects, as well as properties for SRJC production.

Course Completion of THAR 27 ( or THAR 77)

Recommended Preparation:

Limits on Enrollment:

Schedule of Classes Information
Description: Untitled document
This course provides intermediate instruction in the skills involved in the design, coordination, and construction of stage properties (commonly called props), with a focus on foam carving and theatrical food properties preparation and construction skills. Students will work on focus-related projects, as well as properties for SRJC production.
(Grade Only)

Prerequisites:Course Completion of THAR 27 ( or THAR 77)
Limits on Enrollment:
Transfer Credit:
Repeatability:00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP


Associate Degree:Effective:Inactive:
CSU GE:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
IGETC:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
CSU Transfer:Effective:Inactive:
UC Transfer:Effective:Inactive:

Certificate/Major Applicable: Certificate Applicable Course


Student Learning Outcomes:
At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
Untitled document
1. Conceptualize and safely apply a variety of preparation and fabrication techniques,
    particularly foam carving, to the development of food properties and foam properties
    for stage and camera productions.

Objectives: Untitled document
In order to achieve these learning outcomes, during the course the student will:
1.   Read and analyze a script with respect to historical period and style, focusing on the
      potential foam carving and/or food properties requirements for a production.
2.   Conduct and apply historical and stylistic research in the conceptualization of a prop design,
      noting factors relating to objects replicated through foam carving and/or food properties
      preparation and fabrication.
3.   Identify the characteristics of different types of foam and foam carving materials, as well
      as other types of food properties preparation and fabrication materials, and their applications.
4.   Demonstrate creative problem solving in prop designing, including finding resources,
      adaption, and working within a budget.
5.   Develop strategies for replicating objects using foam carving, as well as for replicating food
      properties that are either consumable or fabricated for a production.
6.   Work collaboratively and communicate with a design and directorial team.   
7.   Formulate a plan for the safe preparation, handling, storage, and maintenance of consumable
      food properties, as well as the protection and maintenance of other food and/or foam
      properties, for the run of a show.
8.   Utilize a variety of finishing materials and techniques for fabricated food properties and
      other foam carving properties.
9.   Apply safety procedures for the handling and storage of tools and materials used in foam
      carving and other methods of preparation and fabrication of food properties for a theatrical
10. Fabricate a prop out of foam, applying foam carving techniques.
11. Mentor beginning students in foam carving and food properties preparation and fabrication.

Topics and Scope
Untitled document
Properties Overview Topics:
I. Introduction
    A. Define stage properties, props master, props manager and props organization
    B. Introduction to historical styles
II. Safety and Standards of Professionalism
    A. Shop safety
    B. Safe use of materials and equipment
    C. Explanation of MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets)
    D. The importance of protective clothing and masks
    E. Other standards of professionalism
III. Script Analysis and Strategizing for an Assigned Play
    A. Evaluation of props requirements of an assigned play
    B. Strategizing which props can be bought, pulled from stock, or built
    C. Consideration of the play's period and socioeconomic situation in relation to props
    D. Consideration of the play's style, such as realism vs. fantasy
IV. Research
    A. Investigate sources of historical information
    B. Discuss and investigate creative nontraditional research approaches
V. Purchasing
    A. Budgeting
    B. Buying props
    C. Researching sources
VI. Managing Props in Production
    A. Organization and placement
    B. Tracking
    C. Inventory and maintenance
    D. Working with actors
VII. Working with Stock Props [Primarily Lecture]
    A. SRJC Base stock and users
    B. Considerations before making changes to stock props
         1. Use
              a. How often is stock item used?
              b. How likely is item to be used in current condition?
         2. Condition of item
              a. Is item in need of repair?
              b. Is item usable in current condition?
              c. Will changes improve, sustain, or diminish item's quality?
         3. Value
              a. How much would it cost to replace item?
              b. How feasible is it to replace item (age, rarity, etc.)?
         4. Durability and "Lifespan"
              a. Will changes withstand production demands over time?
              b. Do changes increase or reduce longevity of item's use?
    C. Repurposing stock props
         1. Temporary vs permanent changes
         2. Where will item be stored in stock after changes?
Workshop Focus Topics:
I. Painting Concepts and Techniques
    A. Color theory
         1. How color works
         2. Paints and pigments
         3. Mixing color
         4. Color wheel
    B. Techniques
         1. Highlight and shadow
         2. Glazing and surface qualities of props
    C. Painting different surfaces    
II. Foam Carving Properties
    A. Types of foam carved properties
         1. Food properties
         2. Sculpture and statuary
         3. Other
    B. Types of foam and their characteristics
    C. Tools and materials for foam carving
    D. Safety practices when working with foam
    E. Foam carving techniques
    F. Final touches
         1. Finishes
         2. Painting
    G. Foam props in performance
         1. Protection
         2. Maintenance
         3. Repairs
         4. Cleaning and storage
III. Food Properties - Identifying Production Requirements
    A. Setting and style/genre of script and production
    B. Food requirements of the production
         1. Food properties specified in script
         2. Additional food properties requests for production
         3. Historical requirements
              a. Research strategies
              b. Research resources
    C. Production conventions relating to food/drink consumption
         1. Will actors actually consume food props on stage?
         2. Degree of realism and illusion
         3. Visibility - proximity of audience to stage
         4. Practical considerations, including budget
IV. Food Properties - Fabrication
    A. Types of food properties fabrication techniques
         1. Foam carving
         2. Molds and casting
         3. Spray foam
         4. New products
         5. 3-D printing
         6. Fabric and soft sculpture
    B. Materials, tools, and resources
    C. Safety concerns
         1. Protective clothing, eyewear etc.
         2. Ventilation
         3. Work surface and surroundings
         4. Storage and disposal
    D. Conceptualization and Fabrication Considerations
         1. Use in production
              a. Weight in relationship to intended use
              b. Mass in relationship to intended use
         2. Durability and production longevity
         3. Amount needed
              a. Bulk food items (such as different baskets of fruit)
              b. Plated duplicate items (such as appetizers)
     E. Specialty items
         1. Cakes and pastries
         2. Large food items (such as roast boar's head)
         3. Fantasy food
    F. Plating and decoration
         1. Garnishes and other decoration
         2. Plating and display
         3. Presentation
V. Food Properties in Production
    A. Mixing fabricated and consumable food properties
    B. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs
    C. Protection and storage    
VI. Consumable Food Properties [Mostly Lecture]
    A. Food/drink allergies and sensitivities
    B. Food/drink considerations
         1. Religious and/or personal values
         2. Dietary preference (such as vegetarian or vegan)
         3. Weight gain concerns
         4. Aversions and preferences
         5. Concerns regarding adaptations such as food coloring
         6. Odor (pro/con) - for actor, other cast, and audience
    C. Food/drink usage on stage
         1. When will actor be consuming it during production?
         2. What will actor be doing before/during/after consuming it?
         3. How much needs to be consumed per performance?
         4. Food qualities (such as crumbs, chewing, carbonation, etc.)
    D. Food/drink props - dishes and utensils
         1. Considerations
              a. What is the food/drink prop contained in on stage?
              b. What tools are used to eat/drink it, and by whom?
              c. Plastic vs breakable
              d. Full container vs false bottom
              e. Historical and social/economic details
         2. Types of dishes
         3. Types of glassware
         4. Types of flatware
         5. Types of serving vessels
              a. Trays
              b. Baskets
              c. Package (such as bag or box)
              d. Drink vessels such as pitchers, carafes and bottles
    E. Food/drink properties safety
         1. Facilities and equipment (including refrigeration and cooking)
         2. Safe preparation
         3. Safe handling
         4. Safe storage, including containers and duration
         5. Safe maintenance, including dishwashing
         6. Safe disposal
    F. Replacing perishable food/drink props during show run
         1. Strategies, including schedule and personnel
         2. Budget and accessing funds
VII. Methods for Assisting Peers
    A. Foam carving
    B. Food properties fabrication.
Unless specifically noted above, all topics are covered in both the lecture and lab
portions of the course.

Untitled document
THAR 127.3 students will attend class with THAR 27 students and participate in class activities
relating to the properties requirements for the semester's productions.  However, the following
assignments will focus primarily on developing skills relating to foam carving and food props.
Homework and class assignments:
1. Read 5-10 pages of the required material per week.
2. Quiz(zes): One or more quizzes on assigned reading and/or safety issues.
3. Read, analyze, and research 3-4 assigned plays from a property designer's
    viewpoint. Scripts will include 2-3 SRJC productions for the current semester;
    instructor may select 1-2 additional scripts for class discussion and exercises.
    With each script, the student will:
    A. Identify required and potential props.
    B. Develop a props list, scene by scene.
    C. Identify the period and style of each play.
    D. Research and collect visual images representing the period of the play.
    E. Research the identified props within the play's period, providing
4. Design Team Assignment
    Students will work in groups of 2-3 to simulate the collaborative process of a
    design team.
     Assignment example:
    A. The team is assigned one or more specific props for an upcoming production.
    B. The team strategizes how the prop(s) will be constructed, selects
         appropriate materials, and applies techniques in the construction of the
         assigned prop(s).
5. Production Attendance Essays:
    A. Attend 2-3 SRJC productions (Note: Students receive one free
          ticket per production.)
    B. Write a 500-word essay on each play, focusing on the props used.
6. Props Purchasing Assignment:
    A. Research 2-4 purchasing sources for an assigned object or material.
    B. Present findings to class, including price, availability and delivery information.
7. Final Project:  
     Problem-solve, strategize, and construct an instructor-assigned prop for
    theatrical use relating to foam carving and/or food properties fabrication.
    (Instructor may assign a prop for a specific production or independent of any
    specific script or show.)
8. Professionalism - Adhere to the standards of professionalism expected in the field of
    properties and the course syllabus:
    A. Arrive promptly and prepared for all class meetings, participating actively.
    B. Maintain an amiable and supportive attitude when interacting with others (fellow
         students, instructor, technical director, designers, actors, stage managers, etc.)
    C. Work collaboratively with other team members when working on group tasks.
    D. Acknowledging the sometimes stressful and time-sensitive working environment,
         contribute positively by staying focused, listening closely, following instructions
         carefully, and taking initiative when appropriate.
    E. Wear required work attire and safety gear, adhere to safety procedures as
         instructed, and strive to maintain good personal health and safety practices.
Additional assignments may include:
9. Props Management Assignment:
    A. Develop a problem-solving strategy for organizing and managing props
         for a production, in theory or practical application.
    B. Document the management strategy in a 500-word paper (Strategy Paper).
10. Specialized Prop Construction Assignment(s):
      Complete one or more additional foam carving or casting project(s).
11.  Peer assisting in foam carving and food properties fabrication.

Methods of Evaluation/Basis of Grade.
Writing: Assessment tools that demonstrate writing skill and/or require students to select, organize and explain ideas in writing.Writing
10 - 20%
2-3 production essays; Strategy paper (optional)
Problem solving: Assessment tools, other than exams, that demonstrate competence in computational or non-computational problem solving skills.Problem Solving
20 - 40%
Script analysis, research, strategizing and purchasing assignments
Skill Demonstrations: All skill-based and physical demonstrations used for assessment purposes including skill performance exams.Skill Demonstrations
40 - 60%
Props design and construction assignments; Design Team assignment.
Exams: All forms of formal testing, other than skill performance exams.Exams
5 - 15%
Quiz(zes) on reading/safety
Other: Includes any assessment tools that do not logically fit into the above categories.Other Category
5 - 10%
Professionalism (includes participation and attendance)

Representative Textbooks and Materials:
Untitled document
The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theatre, Film, and TV. 2nd ed. Hart, Eric. Focal Press. 2017
The Theatre Props Handbook: Second Edition. James, Thurston. Players Press. 2000 (classic)  
The Prop Builders Molding and Casting Handbook. James, Thurston. Betterway Books. 1989 (classic)
Intructor prepared materials.

Print PDF