Leo Marks as Cloten, and Mark Bedard as Posthumus with the Headless Body Prop
(Photo: Jay Westcott/TBD | Date: Feb. 02, 2011)The most challenging and interesting prop I got to build for STC was the headless body of Cloton for our production of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline." This project was very involved and a lot of fun, drawing from a number of skills including puppetry, molding & casting, and soft goods. Once I got over feeling daunted by the task I dove right in.
The process started with a sketch. We wanted to build a body that would look as realistic as possible given the time frame and budget. The hardest part in making a fake body is to build it so that the limbs and spine bend naturally and flop under their own weight. So I sketched out what types of joints I would be using in each section of the body.
I started by building the legs and arms using leather joints in notched wooden dowels. The leather was a very easy way to hinge the joints and allow a little bit of twisting between the upper and lower segments of the limbs. The notched dowels were cut so that they would bend only one direction. We didn't want any hyper-extending elbows or knees. The wooden dowels also gave the limbs enough weight to flop naturally.