Blog 5 Things That Will Shock You About “True West” That Have Nothing to do with the Plot 

5 Things That Will Shock You About “True West” That Have Nothing to do with the Plot 

It’s been a while since we’ve talked shop, and we’ve missed it. With so many unseen heroes and incredible facts about True West, we have to let you in on a few secrets that you might want to keep an eye out for when you come to see the show.  

1. True West has the record for most props in a show this season. 

We spent a small part of our day watching Props Supervisor Faith Boucher dress the set with props, and let’s just say it was an undertaking. There were two decent-size boxes filled with props that needed to find their home on set. As soon as those boxes were emptied, two more boxes full of props magically arrived. It truly felt like we were watching someone move into a new house. And though we offered to help, Faith assured us she had it covered. 

After attempting to count just how many props there were, we just gave up. Luckily, part of Faith’s job is to know how many props there are on the stage (she told us there are hundreds!). 

2. The set is a powerhouse. Literally. 

For the sake of keeping some secrets, we can’t say what, but we can say that at some point in the show there are more than 10 things plugged in at a time on the set itself. Those things will be fully operational and will take a decent amount of power … 75 amps of power to be exact. See if you can spot the 5 outlets on the set before they are put to work.  

3. Designed to be destroyed. 

Lighting fixtures, glass sliding doors/windows, and tables all took a little bit extra thought this time around. Things would be swung and punches would be thrown, and we needed to make sure no one actually, seriously, got hurt.  

But this isn’t scenic designer Alexander Dodge’s first rodeo. In fact, after two Tony nominations, 8 Broadway productions, and 3 national tours, he was more than equipped to dream up a set able to handle the wreckage that comes with True West. In fact, at the first rehearsal during designer presentations, someone asked which parts of the set could be used as weapons. HA!  

4. The “wallpaper” and floor were hand painted by one person. 

As a theatre company that operates in two cities, there is little room for downtime. So, when Scenic Charge Artist Charlotte Alcorn received the design for Dodge’s set, she went to work.  

Four weeks later, Charlotte had single-handedly painted 4 walls, a skylight, and a floor panel with more than 20 visual patterns. Check out the process shots below, brings you right back to the ‘80s doesn’t it?

5. Typewriting ink is nearly impossible to remove. 

When we sit down to enjoy the show, we hardly think about how some show elements need to be recreated for each of the 38 performances. For instance, the simple need for a clean shirt to perform in. While washing clothes for sweat is standard, cleaning them to remove ink stains isn’t always the norm. Especially when those stains come from a typewriter.  

While the characters Lee and Austin delve into the world of screenwriting, Lee carelessly gets smudges of ink on his white tank top. Before getting too far into the process, Assistant Costume Designer Lindsay McDonald tested how best to get this tricky stain out. The findings? You can’t.  

After trying six different combinations of cleaners and detergents, none of them completely removed the stain. But the one that worked the best was Soilove + All detergent. 

In the end … 

We know it’s impossible to take heed of every special detail our team has considered with this and every show, but we hope you’ve gained some appreciation for what they do to bring stories to life. From inspiration to execution, they truly don’t miss a beat. 

Join us to witness these technical elements and more work in tandem for True West.