Making Props for Quixote Nuevo

In Quixote Nuevo our hero and his trusty sidekick, Sancho, must arm themselves for their quest in search of Quixote’s long-lost love. They journey through an arid part of Texas where you might expect to see a cactus along with the white-washed remains of a ram’s skull. Not something you might have sitting around in your living room…or the DCPA’s prop warehouse. That’s where the artistry of designer Helen Huang is brought to life by the DCPA Theatre Company Costume Crafts Director Kevin Copenhaver and his team.



A metal armor plate is strapped to a mannequin

First, every good hero needs a suit of armor, so our team created a breastplate from a junk yard — license plate, hubcap, seatbelts and several extra hood ornaments for flourish.

Then, every good knight needs to protect his noggin’.  Thrifty Quixote makes off with a used bedpan that he picks up at a yard sale.

A prop skull is shown on a cluttered table

Now quasi-protected, Quixote is ready to face the ram skulls littered across the desert. Shaped out of EVA foam, the heads are hand painted and assembled complete with horns, empty eye sockets and a few remaining teeth. Scary as they look, be assured that no harm comes to our duo.

As the journey ensues, the pair will pass by a flock of sheep. These puppets are hand painted and will be worn on actors’ heads.

A woman leans over a large piece of fabric

In addition to the sheep heads, Karen King is working to stitch fabric onto netting, which the actors will wear like a cowl around their neck and shoulders. The end result is intended to evoke the image of a piñata.

A large skull prop is placed on a table

Quixote and Sancho also encounter calacas along their way. These skeleton figures are often used to celebrate the life a person who has passed away. In Quixote Nuevo, calacas masks are designed for actors to wear.