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How do you keep cutlery on a tablecloth for Titanic?


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Hi folks,


In two week's time The Atlantic Theatre Company will be staging "Titanic The Musical" at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. For those of you who don't know the venue, the Minack is an outdoor theatre, it's backdrop is the Atlantic Ocean. Anyone interested in having a look at the theatre log onto www.minack.com


Anyway, I digress. I am in charge of props and in Act 1 Sc.3 the First Class Passengers are dining at the Captain's table.


We will have two folding tables, white plastic tops with metal legs and when opened up are very strong. They will be placed side by side. Each table will have a white table cloth on it. The "Ship's Stewards" will bring the tables (already opened with the cloths on) onto the stage. On the table will be 13 place settings. Now bearing in mind, we are playing in an outside theatre, strong wind is not unusual and the cutlery being used is plastic, but looks silver and the dining plates are also plastic, but look like china. I thought I would super glue the cutlery and plates onto the tablecloth. This of course means that the cast can't use the cutlery, but at least it will stay in place. There will be eight performances, plus two rehearsals, so it's important that stuff doesn't go flying off in the breeze or even strong wind during any of those performances..


Is the idea of gluing the items down correct, or should I be doing something else?


The plates are currently empty. Where can I obtain imitation food that I can glue to the plates?


Hope someone can help,



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If you can get metallic cutlery that allows magnets, that night work - place magnets under the tablecloth?


With regards to your food, I understand that once it's cooked you can laquer it to protect it and stop it going off? What sort of food are you after, and how close are the audience to the stage?

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Does it really need to be that literal?


It is the Minack after all and you will have little or no formal "set" unless you want to ruin the best backdrop in the business. I would consider getting a friendly artist to paint the cloth representationally rather than recreate reality. Or you could consider the cast having the eating irons as personal props about their persons and doing some "business" with napkins and the like. It is also likely to be raining so the less you have the less there is to go wrong.


Where you will store the tables there is more of a problem than most dressing troubles.


As for food Ram, crab would be good if you could get them to clamp their pincers on the plate! :D

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Two options come to mind.

Use metal cutlery and fix magnets to the table. You will probably have to drill holes in the table top in order that the top of the magnets are flush with the table top. Use metal plates also, painted white so as resemble china.


Alternatively secure the table cloth to the table in some semi permanent way such as plenty of double side adhesive tape. Sew onto the cloth pieces of velcro. Glue matching pieces of velcro to to the tableware. With sufficient double sided tape and vecro it should be possible to move the table even in windy conditions, with tableware on it.

If the actors need to use the tableware, then removal is possible but would make a noise as the velcro is removed. Might be acceptable outdoors ? Or accept that the articles are fixed, and have duplicates in the actors pockets.

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You provided the "feed"...groan...D.B and the rest is history. The gag is really for locals, seeing as Kernow is surrounded by sea on three sides and a foreign country to the east...but you can have a chortle too.


(The Minack is literally hanging off a cliff over the sea and it can be a bit breezy, as anyone who has been there would testify. The sea view ((You can't miss it.)) can be dressed with all kinds of fishing boats from the local ports, so you see the connection. Most publicity shots on tourist websites depict the theatre in windless calm, as you would expect, ** laughs out loud **.


When I was there during a visit, not a perf' as such, it was very rough on the water and we were "treated" to the Rescue helicopter assisting a yacht less than a mile offshore. I don't recall anyone watching the stage...)


Ref the Titanic perfs I gather that there is a "special" performance which starts at some odd time in the late evening so that the sinking in the play is at exactly the same time as the event 100 years ago to the minute, allowing for tides...ahem.


So, if the weather blows up you can see the problem with props etc, etc. In fact I would even go so far as to suggest using stage weights to keep the tables onstage. And tacking the table clothes to the legs.


But why not sea food? Some readers must have seen the fishing net enshrouded plastic lobsters lurking in windows used to lure emmets into places like Padstein's eateries...(that IS a local gag).


Bound to find them here:




Lobsters are perfectly in keeping with the First Class menu and perfectly apposite for the sea and the locale...job done.


Err, any chance of a comp?

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The Minack is a wonderful place, thouygh I too have only visited and not seen a show there, but once yoiu discover its history, how wonderful it is pales in comparison of the story of how it got there.
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My thought was to sew it, as well. Glue tends to harden and unpeel from fabric.


Also if you've got plastic plates you can probably drill small holes through to sew them on.


I second the idea about attaching the cloths to the table legs, too.... or at least sewing the corners (like a fitted sheet) so they just drop over the legs like a box, almost. Possibly bracing the legs at the bottom and stageweighting them is worthwhile as well as Ramdram said...


Food wise you can make it out of all sorts of stuff and it's fun! Or you can buy plastic food. Or you can make it and it's much more fun!! :D (foam, paint, expanding foam, polystyrene and scrim, paint, salt dough... I love making fake food)


There's loads on the internet about how to make prop food.

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As per usual, you guys have come up with some good ideas. I have also had a great laugh at some of the ideas. Good to know that a lot of you know the Minack, Ramdram, I assume has been involved there before.


Thanks again guys.


Oh by the way. This does not close this subject. Anyone with some more ideas will be greatly appreciated.

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You could have a piece of hardboard or really decent cardboard, cover with cloth, fixed with PVA perhaps, screw or staple the props onto the c/hardboard, thru' the cloth, gaffer the 'board to the table so no damage to table. "Velcro" ties to table legs for cloth.


Then the masterstroke, ahem, the waiters bring in the lobsters (I'm still having seafood on the menu.) on a silver salver or chafing dish, do the silver service thing onto the fixed plate, but, you have cunningly attached more "velcro" type strips to plate and underbelly of the "lobster plastique", so even a gale can't shift 'em.


Then, so as to get round them eating the immovable foods/props the ship sinks. DBO, walk down, off to pub.

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