Helping On Stage and Off

Jennifer Butler

I have always said that theater is my home, but the props department is like my room within my home. After trying out a few different aspects of the production team, I felt in love with props (by accident) and found that being the props master best utilizes my skills and creativeness. To read a script and not make a prop list is really weird to me and when I am not the props person for the show that I am working on, I really do miss it.

So when the opportunity recently arose for me to help even though I was an actor in the show, I jumped at the chance. I took the prop list from the director had made and as I read it, I said things like, “I own this, I own that, and I can easily make that.”  I always like to lend a helping hand if I can (it’s who I am.) Hence, how I ended up helping with costumes and other things for other shows. 

I left rehearsal and went home to make a tossing bouquet for the opening wedding scene. At another rehearsal that week I was labeling other cast members’ costumes after trying on my own. I will be spending time making a magazine and a plane ticket as well as finding and applying era appropriate liquor bottle labels. Props and costume preparation is second nature to me, being in a show is not. The entire cast, as well as the director, has been completely understanding of the fact that this is the first musical I will be in and have been beyond helpful when it comes to things like music rehearsals.

The whole point is that as a theater community we are a family and we want to see each other do their best to have a successful show. We will all do what it takes to make that happen. So if the cast and director are willing to spend extra time helping me with the music portion on the show, there is no reason that I can’t put my knowledge and expertise to good use and help with props. And just as thrilled as I am about being in the show, I am thrilled to help on the production side of things. I like being on both sides of the threshold of the stage. I never anticipated being cast in a show and still want to be involved in the production. But I do, I do want to be a part of it all, both onstage and off because being involved with theater is who I am and it’s in my blood.

Photo: Firebird Photography