"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 décor 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.