Is He Dead? - Prosthetic Leg Prop

master carpenter / props assistant

The Mark Twain farce ends with a ruse to fool a lecherous painting dealer who had fallen for a man disguised as his own sister. In order to scare the dealer away, Jean-François Millet pretends to be made up of many artificial parts. Some of the parts involved were prosthetic limbs the painter used for reference.

Research and design

When researching period appropriate prosthetics, I found that many were simple wooden shapes held together with leather straps and braces. I set out to emulate this by adapting a mannequin leg.


After purchasing the legs, I set about cutting them up using a roto-zip and then using machine screws and simple plates to articulate them. The foot was a shoe form, held on by a bungee cord attached within the shin. This gave the foot a comical bouncing life that the director was looking for.


The leg was painted using a standard wood graining. The strapping was cut from faux leather. I hand riveted the faux leather and used leather shoe strings to create the straps and bracing. 


Otterbein University Spring 2016

  • Directed by Mark Mineart
  • Scenic Design by Rob Johnson
  • Lighting Design by TJ Gerckens
  • Costume Design by Rebecca White
  • Technical Direction by Patrick Stone

Photo by Karl Kuntz