All sorts of objects are made here that cannot be found elsewhere: fake candles, weapons, cooked dishes, platters of fruit, wads of fake banknotes, giant feathered fans, little animals both fantastical and hyper-realistic, and so much more.
Plaster, wood, resin, foam, wire, everything is used! While the prop-makers sometimes use the same craft techniques as the sculptors, their work involves a number of varied and inventive approaches.
For each object, a unique solution is found, a custom-made design in accordance with the wishes of the directors and set designers.
For several years, the Props workshop has been adapting to the growing importance of mechanical and electronic effects.
The prop-makers are also responsible for the special effects onstage. The effects involving fire are always impressive. Sometimes fire is suggested by using lights or video, sometimes it is real. For real fire, pyrophoric paper, flammable gel, cotton wool, and manual or electric ignition devices are used. All the special effects, from gushing blood to torrential rain, are developed here.
Tests of the pyrotechnic effects for Norma (2021)
The Props workshop works in close collaboration with the Millinery & Decoration workshop, Wardrobe, and the Set design workshops, as well as with the lighting technicians.
A team of stage managers is responsible for arranging the props onstage during the build, rehearsals, and performances.
In November 2021, La Monnaie revived its production of Lulu, which was first presented in 2012. It was an opportunity to resurrect the sets, props, and costumes that were created for it. Among them were some giant animals, images of which you may have already seen elsewhere on this site. They had to return to the Workshops to have fingers, tails, or teeth reattached, or to be given a fresh coat of varnish before returning to the stage.