With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series will highlight staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.
With Memphis starting next week, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight someone who knows a thing or two about all of the props onstage: Property Designer Lynda Kwallek.
Here is what she to say about her prop experience here at The Rep:
How long you have worked at The Rep: 8 years
Education/training: Bachelor of Fine Arts at Kent State and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Illinois State
How’d you get into the theatre biz: I signed up for a class. The slogan on the theatre table was ‘Theatre part time – Full time for a good time.’ I was 19 and it sounded good. I had always been interested in theatre; the slogan just gave me the chance to check out the theatre.
Why your job rocks: I love finding that special prop, especially the one nobody expects me to find – the prop on the list that is nearly impossible. I truly enjoy getting out shopping and meeting the vendors.
Best work day ever: Every opening night is special. Very few people have a job that starts with a piece of literature and is collaborative with other often exceptional people. The process culminates in a party. It is a delight to see everyone at the openings. We meet so many creative, smart, well-read, non-judgmental people.
Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: I loved Clybourne Park last season. The subject matter was a stretch for our theatre and our audience loved it. The cast did exceptional work on it. Another favorite show was 39 Steps – so wacky. Avenue Q was another favorite – such a positive message in the show. Loved Les Miserables both times and Full Monty was a great experience.
One thing people would be surprised about your job: That we produce our shows here at the theatre. I have had people ask me where we bought certain things. It is a pleasure to say we built it for the show.
Favorite seat in the house: Center on the 1st mezzanine
Best job perk: Shopping – I find so many unusual things out looking for show props. My apartment is an eclectic mixture. Often, a guest’s first comment is ‘so this is what a prop person’s home looks like.’ I love surrounding myself with the old stuff I find and it is often a bargain price.
Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!
Learn a little more about Lynda here.