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This essay argues the need to rethink the straw man of dramatic realism as a pure embodiment of bourgeois/patriarchal ideology. Even in early, canonical works, such as Strindberg’s Miss Julie and Glaspell’s Trifles, we find contradictory attitudes toward material reality, attitudes observable in the use of props. While many critics have claimed that realism is a static form that ratifies the status quo, the fixations surrounding realist props may suggest struggle and transformation. The essay tests this hypothesis on Marsha Norman’s hyper-realist play ’night, Mother, which has polarized politically minded critics since its premiere. Examined from the perspective of props, the play’s apparently suffocating realism discloses a counter-economy of craft and appropriation.