“Over the season, we acquire a tremendous amount of costumes and hundreds of props, ” says Joy Zinoman, Artistic Director of the Studio Theatre. “And each year, after the season ends, we go down into our prop storage — an enormous space in the basement of our building — and say ‘Okay this goes, this goes, this goes, this stays.’ ”
What “goes ” is placed into the Studio’s annual Garage Sale, a twenty-five year tradition. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“A garage sale seems like a silly thing, ” says Zinoman, “but it actually has a deep purpose. It started with [resident set designer] Russell Metheny saying to me, ‘Don’t keep stuff, don’t ask designers to reuse things — everybody needs their own complete vision about furniture and dÃ©cor and props. Just keep enough so that you can use it in rehearsals. The rest, get rid of.’
“Sometimes that’s very painful, ” Zinoman concedes. “We can get ridiculously attached to things. ”
What’s the criteria for what stays and what’s sold? “If the piece is very unique or very associated with some play or character, ” says Zinoman, “then it has to go. But we’ll keep things that have generic value, that can be used in other shows — like firearms. ”
This year’s selection includes children’s spring horses from The shape of Things, exotic drag costumes from Privates on Parade, and gothic items from Bat Boy: The Musical. Also on the selling block: a ton of costumes, antique glassware, records and CDs, and 1980s era children’s toys. Come early, as says Zinoman, “the first 45 minutes are huge. ”
There have, over the years, been some sales that struck even the unflappable Zinoman as a little “weird. ”
“There have been times when people have come looking for a particular actress or actor’s underwear, ” she admits with a laugh. “And that’s all I’ll say about that! ”
The Studio Theatre Garage Sale will be held this Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1333 P Street NW (the corner of 14th & P). For more information, call 202-232-7267.