From Libretto #6 (2023)

Props – The cigarette

Props master Andreas Sudrow on smoking and make-believe smoking on stage

It used to be that when the action called for a character to smoke, real cigarettes were used. That rarely happens nowadays. We normally use fake cigarettes – little tubes made of reinforced paper containing a cotton wool filter and baby powder. When you blow into it, it produces a cloud of ‘smoke’. We also use fake cigars made of wood complete with a little head of ash made of gold and silver paper which work on the same principle and can be filled with powder if needed. Singers can smoke for real if they’re happy doing it. In our production of FORZA DEL DESTINO the baritone singing Don Carlo has a long scene at the end in which he is seated and quietly smoking. In the first run of the production Markus Brück puffed on real tobacco, and we always have a pail of water – to say nothing of a fire fighter - standing by for any eventualities.

 

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