Today, we are joined by The Logos Theatre Prop Master, Kayla Goodfellow, for some quick questions about her role! Be sure to check out the Director's Guild for all the How-To Prop videos and set decor tips from Kayla!
QUESTION: Let’s start out with a fun one! What is your favorite part about being the prop master at the Logos Theatre?
KAYLA: It’s a broad question! But I would probably say researching all the different time periods, and finding out how the items were used, and then how to incorporate them into the story without being a distraction–so how they can add to the world!
QUESTION: What sort of skills do you find most useful in being the prop master?
KAYLA: Organization is one that I wasn’t expecting as much.
RESPONSE: What do you mean by organization?
KAYLA: Being able to keep track of where everything is and then where it needs to travel over the course of the show. How to organize the backstage to make the actor’s job as easy as possible. When most of the props are so little, they are easy to lose!
QUESTION: What is the first thing you do when you are collecting props for a new show?
KAYLA: Obviously read through the script and make note of anything that is listed specifically, but then anything that might not be listed that would help flesh out the world. Then you just go scene by scene and make a list of things that you need, whether it has to be made, or bought, or outsourced in some way.
QUESTION: What’s the most difficult prop that you’ve ever had to make or find?
KAYLA: The one I had to find that was the most difficult was actually a civil war coffee pot, but the most difficult to make was probably Percy’s ring from The Scarlet Pimpernel. The different types of adhesives that would hold the ring together without clouding the resin was what made that project difficult. Thankfully, as I worked with the resin and researched it, it was not as technically difficult as I had thought!
QUESTION: Do you think there is a certain personality that lends itself best to props?
KAYLA: Honestly, someone who is attentive. You want to be constantly listening and watching to see if there is a need. Obviously finding the stuff you need is important, but being ready in the moment to get the actor’s what they need in rehearsal or in the middle of a performance is important. You never know when something is going to break, so being ready to act and problem solve and keep a level head is very important!
QUESTION: Do you have any tips for someone who is responsible for props with a small budget?
KAYLA: Think creatively firstly. You have to look at ordinary objects in an unordinary way. Thrifting is always a good option, but you have to look at an object as what it could be rather than what it is. My favorite example was when we needed a gold vase for The Horse and His Boy. We were having trouble finding one with handles, but we ended up thrifting an old bathroom light fixture and cutting the sconces off of it and welding those to a simple gold vase that we had found at another thrift store.
QUESTION: Do you have any tips on how to familiarize yourself with a time period so you can create props for it?
KAYLA: The easy one is googling. I also did a lot of reading growing up that would inspire me to kind of learn what the stuff was that I was reading about. Old movies can be nice, and museums are very helpful. Honestly sometimes I struggle more with the more modern stories as it can be hard to view those things as props!
QUESTION: Where do you go when you are struggling to find answers or inspiration?
KAYLA: Honestly, anytime you get a chance to ask an expert or invest in learning more about time periods, you want to take your chance. You can never know everything, since they are such broad categories, but finding good resources or people who know how to do cool stuff, and get hands on with them and learn from them, you want to take every chance you can get.
QUESTION: If you could give one word of advice to prop masters out there, what would it be?
KAYLA: Service. Props are meant to flesh out, or bring to life the world in which the story is taking place. They are not the focus, but they are support for the actors and for the audience’s eye. During the show, you are serving the actor by making sure they are not distracted by wondering where their props are or if they function. That’s your job. If nobody notices you, that means you are doing well. You are doing your job for the message of whatever story you are portraying. The stories we choose to do here are meaningful and purposeful. It’s not just me tinkering away backstage with a hot glue gun, it’s me helping bring an important message to life!
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