Prop-making Workshop

Prop-making Workshop at Bergh Apton Village Hall, 2nd May.

The Props-Maker’s Part in the Mystery Play

The command came: Create a plague
to vex the Pharaoh and all his people.
Take a white linen sheet, three span by two,
ink from the brown-black oozings of silos,
card for pattern-making, razors for cutting,
rollers for inking, and now … begin!

And we, in the props-maker’s guild,
did as we were bid.

Draw all manner of mini-beasts on card,
midges, mosquitoes, scorpions, wasps and flying ants,
Cut round, and ink the patterns silo-black,
spread out the sheet and print their throbbing bodies,
fluttering wings, buzzing heads, till the whole white
world teems with frenetic insect life.

And we, in the props-maker’s guild,
did as we were bid.

Now shake the sheet, and the creatures flew up
in fury at the Pharaoh and all his people
with such a susurration and a flapping,
as never was heard, and they bit and they stung
till this folk were covered from toe to top
with bumps and lumps, and lesions and scab,
and they were sore, very sore vexed!

And we, in the props-maker’s guild, can say with pride,
We played our mysterious part, and did as we were bid!

Brenda Smith at Bergh Apton, 2nd May 2014


Sometimes words are just useful in the same everyday, take for granted way as knives, forks and spoons.

‘No, thank you.’

‘Fish and chips twice please.’

It’s raining again.’

At other times they hold the power to make spells, creating mood and magic.

As the one who makes the tea at rehearsals I have time to listen and watch as Hugh and David create a magic with the players, words, voices and movement and all in the setting of a chilly Church.

God starts to speak:

‘Welcome to my world,’

(’Wait a minute God, we need you placed higher, stand on this box.’)

We watch as God places constellations and planets to ceaselessly journey, the great leviathan slipped to cruise the oceans and   birds tossed to fly high in forest trees. Then, from Adam’s rib, a woman is formed.

(Well done God. Adam and Eve, are you ready?)

They saunter through the Garden, entranced by all they see.

(‘How are we going to dress these two, any ideas?’

‘What if…….?’  ‘What about…..?’)

Enter the serpent and we all hiss.

She coils and twines round Eve hissing honeyed words to her, sugaring her conscience to sleep.

(Eve, try to show how tempted you are to pick that apple, it’s now or never.’)

Eve plucks the apple and in turn becomes the tempter.

(Adam arrives, all innocence. He has to dance round Eve and Hugh and David demonstrate a nifty soft shoe shuffle. By complete change of voice he has to show he is no longer the carefree innocent. This is the fall of Man!)

‘What have you done?’ demands God and banishes Adam and Eve. ‘Adam lay y-bounden’.

Adam ages and is dying and sends his son, Seth, at eight hundred years old a mere stripling, to the Garden. Angels bar the entrance.

(‘I’ll look on the web and see how to make wings.’

‘I’ve had a brilliant idea, instead of swords….’)

An angel gives Seth but ah… if you want to know what he is given you must buy a ticket and come to the plays.

Adam sprawls on the floor, dead.

(‘How do we bury him?’

‘And he’ll need to be watered. Make a note please to add a watering can to the props.’)

So ends the rehearsal. The Church door is locked and above us sail the stars, all placed in order by God as we have just seen.