Meet The Prop Master: Caleb Warner
With the opening for our next production, School For Manners by Bill Arnold, right around the corner, there are many people busy and hard at work. From costuming to lighting to set designing and construction, every show takes a village of dedicated volunteers to pull everything together before those lights go up on opening night. We wanted to shine a spotlight on some of these individuals, to recognize their efforts and to give a better idea of just what some of these positions entail.
This week we will be focusing on our Prop Master, Caleb Warner. From the moment he stepped foot in this theatre, Caleb has been an invaluable member of our team of volunteers. Acquiring every prop requested and always with a smile on his face we are most grateful to him and the dedication and passion he pours into every show he takes part in. Below please read some of his thoughts on Prop Mastering and his experiences in theater.
Can you describe your duties as Prop Master?
As a prop master, I simply supply any props necessary for a show. A prop is anything used by an actor throughout the action of a play. With the director, I make a prop list of all necessary items. I come up with a prop design that fits the vision of the show. There is a lot of research involved. I then go on a prop hunt to find, buy, or build all the props. Some special effects fall under props including some sound effects, confetti, and the like.
What are the challenges of this position?
Every show has their own challenges. Finding props to fit a certain time period is always hard. Many antique items are hard to find or are very expensive. “Fantasy” plays are difficult due to the fact that many of the props have to be built from scratch. Shows that are very well known are also difficult because people have a preconceived vision of what the show should look like and you have to try to fit that idea.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I really enjoy the research and the hunt for the right prop. I love learning about the past and knowing random(sometimes useless) facts. The hunt for the right prop can sometimes be very long and tedious but it is worth it in the end. I enjoy seeing actors using props and it helping them with a show.
Do you have a favorite show you’ve done props for?
I loved doing props for “West Side Story” and “Cabaret” because I love the shows and think they are beautiful pieces of theater. I would do props for those shows over and over again.I also love doing props for shows that allow me to be creative such as “Still Life With Iris.”
Most difficult prop you’ve had to supply?
Any iconic prop is always difficult to find. When a prop has to have a specific look, either due to the script or being well known, it takes a long time to find it. Frau Blucher’s candelabra from “Young Frankenstein” took 2 flea markets and 3 stores to find due to needing the “right prop.”
What other roles in theater have you been involved in?
I was an actor first back in middle and high school. I have also have been Assistant Stage Manager and Light Board Operator. But my heart and passion truly lies in Props having done props for close to 40 shows.
If there’s one thing you’d like people to know about the mastering of props, what would it be?
It is fun, interesting, and you’ll learn a lot of interesting (and useless) facts like that spring loaded clothespins were invented in 1858.
If someone is interested in volunteering to be a prop master what would your advice be?
TIME AND RESOURCES!! Make sure you have the time to dedicate to the work, like any part of theater. You also have to have or find various resources.
How long have you been involved with HITW?
I started at HITW in February of 2016 with “Still Life With Iris” and haven’t left. I have been the prop master for every show since.
What’s your favorite thing about HITW?
I love the chance to do plays that I have never heard of that give me a challenge. I have met some talented and dedicated people while working at HITW that create amazing theater.
School For Manners runs November 17th-December 9th. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 P.M. Sunday November 26th at 2:00 P.M. Our traditional “Pay What You Can Performance” is Friday November 24th. Tickets may be purchased through our website www.hitw.org.