Brandy Codill has once again lent her prop construction skills to Stage East with fabulous results. The task at hand?  Creating a puppet that could come apart at the limbs, speak, and be thrown and handled roughly all while looking like a 18th century Frenchman.

Panopticon’s star puppet, Robert, is shown in construction.

“Robert [the puppet’s name] is the most important prop in the play, and he turned out even better than I could have imagined thanks to Brandy,” said Mark Macey, writer and director of Panopticon, which opens March 17th at Eastport Arts Center. 

Cogdill has also created props and set pieces for other shows including the original musical Away Down East and pool (no water). She’s no stranger to the spotlight either, having performed in Almost, Maine as Rhonda and as the much-loved mental patient, Boris Renfield, in Dracula: The Musical? 

Brandy Cogdill as Rhonda (top left) strips down to her union suit with scene partner Ken Burke in Almost, Maine. She was the builder of the cartoon car the family drove in Away Down East, an original musical lightly satirizing Washington County (top right). For pool (no water), Brandy works on a floor mural which depicted a fragmented portrait of a character from the play (bottom left). Brandy, as mental patient Boris Renfield, sidles up to ingenue Mina, played by Morgan Swan, in Dracula: The Musical? (bottom right).

“I really like the problem solving aspect of prop making,” writes Brandy. “It presents a different type of challenge than making visual art pieces that are just meant to be observed.  They have to do their job, that is work on stage to do whatever the actors need them to do. That’s the part I like the most. Figuring out what part the props play in telling the story and making sure the actors can use them successfully.  Robert definitely presented a unique set of challenges, but it is very gratifying to see him doing his work.”

A sampling of artwork by Brandy Cogdill is shown.

An arts program graduate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Cogdill was an active part of that local art scene for many years. To come appreciate her handiwork, be sure to book tickets for the upcoming run of Panopticon. 

Tickets and more information about the show can be found at stageast.org, or via the link below. Seating is extremely limited and patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online. Opening weekend (March 17-19) is offered at a discount of $11 per ticket. The second and third weekends will be $16 a ticket. Panopticon deals with adult themes and includes descriptions of graphic violence and strong language.