Prop Masters Becca Tuteur and Pam Weiner: Masters of Their Universe

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Two photos: one of a woman polishing a vehicle fender and another of a woman unwrapping a pink phone.

Becca Tuteur and Pam Weiner working on props for Signature Theatre's production of Crazy for You. Photos by Christopher Mueller

Signature Props - FINAL.mp3

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“A prop is everything that goes in a moving van.” –Becca Tuteur, property master

I must admit I’ve never spent much time wondering where props come from in live theater. That is, until I interviewed the Property Master Becca Tuteur and Associate Property Master Pam Weiner at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. While some props come from a vintage shop or are found online, many others must be designed and built from scratch to encapsulate a director’s precise vision for a production, and to fit within a theater’s often limited backstage and onstage space.

Tuteur, for example, literally built a 1930s Model A pickup truck for Signature’s current production of Crazy for You. A big part of her job is welding, casting, and carpentry. Weiner, on the other hand, manages all the “soft goods” that, as she noted, “are less important to functionality but more important to aesthetic.” She can sew. She can upholster. She also excels at wiring and managed to bring an old player piano to life with the help of the electrical department. There’s a lot happening at once, especially since everyone is working on more than one show at a time. However, both Tuteur and Weiner emphasized that audience members should not notice how much time and effort went into creating the universe onstage.

Listen to the property masters discuss their work on Crazy for You.