What are props in drama

Lexicon of film terms


from lat. prop = the requested; .: properties

All smaller utensils and equipment required for the performance of a stage work are called “props” - letters and wallets, clocks and glasses, dishes of all kinds, umbrellas and sticks, newspapers and radios, cans and bottles, lamps, smoking utensils, militaria and more. Props, decorations (backdrops) and costumes made up the material equipment of a performance. The term, originally derived from theater technology, even won over when it was transferred to film, as film brings the “language of things” into play even more clearly and concisely than theater. Objects gain significance in two ways: (1) by belonging to a historical, social or subcultural style, (2) by their functional role in the piece. Especially with regard to belonging to a “style” or to a “social milieu”, the prop must be carefully selected; inhomogeneities are easily noticeable and destroy the illusion.
For the provision of the props is the Prop master responsible.

Literature: Dingel, Joachim: The prop in Greek tragedy. Diss. Tübingen 1967. Excerpt: prop and scenic image. In: The forms of the Greek tragedy. Edited by Walter Jens. Munich: Fink 1971, pp. 347-367. - Black, Hans-Günther: The silent sign. The symbolic use of props. Bonn: Bouvier 1974.


action props



breakaway line





Prop room

Prop master


Article last changed on December 20, 2012

Author: JH