Props to the props: Stories behind the objects that bring HMTC shows to life 

Charles Ampah , Contributing Writer 

Giant Hershey Kiss – “Canceled,” One Act Play Festival

“Would you like a kiss?” Matthew Aponte ‘22 said in “Canceled,” one of four shows in the 2022 One Act Play Festival last year. He and his co-star Joaquin Ramirez Villareal ‘22 leaned in for the big moment… until Aponte turned around, reaching into his bag to pull out a comically large Hershey’s Kiss. However, the iconic dessert and hilarious moment almost did not make it into the show. “At one rehearsal soon before opening night, I came across the hall, and it had looked like someone had taken a big bite out of it, and tried to hide it,” Assistant Stage Manager Gael Singer (10) said. Luckily, $12.19 and one emergency Amazon order later, an even larger Hershey Kiss arrived just in time for the show.

Winter Gear – “Almost Maine”

You can almost feel the icy chill from the outfits in the 2018 Middle Division production, “Almost Maine.” Since the play was a series of short stories taking place on a winter Friday evening, the actors wore bulky winter gear on the stage of the well heated Gross Theatre. Bailey Hecht (12) recalled her role as Glory, where she donned a red knitted beanie, a winter parka, snow pants and fuzzy gloves. “I really liked my costume, but I had some issues with the mittens in a scene where I had to kiss my hand,” Hecht said. The thick, wintery costumes allowed each scene to retain the tight-knit vibe of the small town of Maine. “Our exaggerated costumes set it up really well, because the set was fairly bare and did very little to tell you where it was taking place,” she said. “The stage wasn’t meant for setting the scene — the costumes provided that.”

Brown Journal – “The Good Doctor”

19 actors playing “The Writer” stood in unison when the lights rose for this year’s fall production, “The Good Doctor.” Each had one possession with them: a six-inch tall brown journal. Throughout the show, they sat in a semi-circle around the stage and jotted things down in the books, as though they were penning the play as it unfolded, Siddhant Jain (10) said. In reality, the pages were filled with doodles and other messages. “You’re sitting there for one and a half hours, and need a way to kill time,” Jain said. The notebooks were not assigned to any individual; actors were given a random one before stepping on stage and rotated after each show. By the final curtain call, each notebook became a time-capsule for the hours that the actors spent both on and off the stage.

Bird Puppets – “The Addams Family”

Lightweight, fuzzy, and neon yellow, a flock of birds made a surprise appearance during “Pulled,” one of the numbers of last year’s spring musical “The Addams Family.” Piloted by Willa Davis (12) and Sylvie Seo (12) via a thin wire attached to a plastic rod, the squishy tennis ball-shaped avians took flight for Liv Dwyer ‘22, who played the gothic protagonist Wednesday. The birds came on stage as visual representation for Dwyer’s line “somehow birdies took root,” highlighting her heightened emotional state in the song as she rips the head off of one of them. As puppeteers, Davis and Seo also animated rats, an octopus, and a bed-crawling monster, amongst other creatures.

Tableware – “The Dining Room”

As the time period shifted from scene to scene, the fancy plates and utensils in the 2021 Fall production “The Dining Room” acted as a constant reminder of the play’s central theme: the resilience of tradition and bonds in spite of changing times and circumstances. “The play called for plates and other tableware that appeared as if they were passed down through generations. So I looked through our properties stock to find something that looked like it could have been handed down,” Nye said. Since the set for “The Dining Room” remained static, the rotating ceramic plates and engraved glasses represented bonding moments as well as family arguments.