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A day in the life of props with Properties Master, Karin Rabe

Karin Rabe takes us through her process on how she secures props for each show. 

Q. Finding props sounds like a fun job, but I’m sure it can be stressful at times. How does your process begin?

A. I do a script analysis to uncover everything that actors touch. What does the script say that they pick up or have in their hands? I engage the director and set designer to see what they envision for each prop. What does it look like to them? Something I also like to consider is the characters’ energy. Once I’ve finalized what I need, my next step would be to check our inventory to see what we already may have, and if it will work.

Q. How far in advance do you have to prepare?

A. I like to start about one – two months out from rehearsals. That allows enough time to secure or build what we need so that the actors can begin using them as they rehearse.

Q. So, after you have checked the inventory and discovered that something would need to be bought, where are some of your favorite places to start shopping? Can you always find what you need?

A. I try to shop local. I like checking antique shops and wholesalers. I like Craftex, it’s one of the first places I look, and has lots of holiday items, and of course, there’s Amazon. If I’m shopping for hardware or materials to build something, Southland Hardware is my go-to, they typically have what we need, and they are local, so I prefer to invest in our community.