I was the Props Lady for my daughter’s last play. My daughter acts and sings with a wonderful London youth theatre organization called Original Kids Theatre Company. They are brilliant and the kids in the troupe are incredibly talented. She has been with them for two years now. You have to be invited to be part of the troupe and yes it is all very prestigious and fun. Did I mention the fun? Anyways this was daughter’s third major play at the Spriet Family Theatre. (Or Our Home Away From Home as I began to think of it). So she began last year asking me to help and I shrugged it off because I was too busy. And so for one year I heard this: “Meg’s Mom is costume lady. Janet’s Mom is doing all the makeup. Jasmine’s Mom is building all the sets from scratch.” (notice the Mom word. That is on purpose here, people because they were all Moms in my experience) Anyways this year daughter was ecstatic when I volunteered for Props Lady. How hard could that be, right? It sounded like a couple of big shopping trips and a crafting session or two. Well it wasn’t really hard and it was a whole lot of rewarding and it was even kind of fun and adventuresome and I had my kids help with some finding and some crafting and we did alright in the end. But over the course of this production, an amazing junior musical called Guys N Dolls, I have learned a few things. This is the part where I impart my wisdom on you.
Lessons From The Props Lady:
1.Get your job description in writing. I had no clue. Truly. I didn’t get in writing that I was supposed to be there for every tech rehearsal and dress rehearsal and performance. EEK! So when I suddenly had to go to Queen’s Park last week and chat adoption with ministry people and those working in child welfare I was very fortunate that the director was so gracious and kind.
2. Twitter rocks! I tweeted that I needed flasks at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and by 11:15 @evilflu had so helped me find them at Dollarama.
3. Be creative. We built a hat with paper plates and bows and ribbons and it was cute. Bridal shower scene.
4. Glue guns are invaluable things. That is all.
5. Lend Out Your Own Items Sparingly. Slap tiny Mabel’s Labels tags all over that which is yours. I think I lost my broom. 🙁
6. Keep Your Receipts – there may be a budget for these things.
7. IPhones are invaluable. I was charged with finding guns and wasn’t really that concerned about that job until I realized they had to look like 1920s guns. What? Iphone to the rescue. I Googled 1920s guns from the warehouse and quickly found some pics and props that worked.
It will be fun once you figure out what you are doing. And it can be a great chance to spend more time with your kids while they are young and while they still want you to be there.
Don’t be afraid to say No. It is easy to get overextended and overwhelmed. There’s a reason it’s often the Moms doing these volunteer things. (We are hardwired to be motivated in some ways by guilt. Also we have trouble saying No.)
Sometimes it is someone else’s turn.