Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stage Prop Has Interesting History

“Pow! You’re dead” is the line Blaine Peltier delivers to Deborah D. Ardoin as Gabe Ortego and Bonnie Pitre watch in fear in one of the many unsettling moments of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, being staged at the Eunice Players’ Theatre. The gun Peltier holds has a history uniquely tied to the play, as well as the subsequent movie. This is no ordinary stage prop; there are only a few of its kind in existence. Known as “The Virginia Woolf Gun” among stage prop rental houses, this particular one was actually used in the movie and handled by Richard Burton as he aimed it at Elizabeth Taylor.

Playwright Edward Albee conceived a gun with an unusual discharge, then set about to have it fabricated by Centre Firearms in New York City in preparation for the Broadway premiere in 1962. By the time the play closed in 1964, a movie version was in the works and the gun was sent to Los Angeles where Burton used it during filming. It later made its way back to its creator in the heart of Manhattan where it remains today. As Joe DeCunzo, owner of Center Firearms, explained to Jody L. Powell, director of the local play, “We only rent it out about twice a year now. Over the past 40 years, the play’s popularity ebbs and flows.” He’s proud to state that his shop has the original gun, even though certain parts have needed to be replaced over the years.

Theatre goers have a chance to view this iconic piece of Broadway and cinematic history when EPT opens its production with a matinee beginning Sunday, May 3 at 2:00. Other evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday, May 6 - 9 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for these performances are $10 and available at David Ltd. Hair and Nail Salon on Second St. or by calling 546-0163. Dinner theatre is Tuesday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Nick's on Second St., with the performance immediately following. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at Nick's or by calling 457-4921. The theatre is located at 121 S. Second St. in Eunice. Visit

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