Jonathan Borgia is the Props Master for Gulfshore Playhouse.
As Gulfshore Playhouse’s Props Master, I am responsible for finding, borrowing, renting, purchasing, and building all of the props and set dressing for all Gulfshore Playhouse productions. I have worked professionally in theatre for over three years. I attended Western Carolina University where I earned a BA degree in Stage and Screen Design and Technology. This is my first season with Gulfshore Playhouse, and I could not be more excited!
I usually follow a pretty similar formula for every show I work on. This involves many steps and working in a short time span! It begins with initial design meetings, reading through the script to figure out what props, furniture, and set dressing is needed. Also, we have to find stand-in props and furniture for rehearsal! All of this helps me to prepare a plan for the props department to successfully create or find all the items needed for the show and to bring the vision of the design team to life. I plan how I should spend my budget and create a timeline of how long it should take to complete. We work for about three weeks to prepare and acquire everything needed for the show. Once we make it to tech, all props needed for the production are accounted for, and we help make the production become the best it can possibly be.
With the chaos brought by Hurricane Irma to the Norris Center, Gulfshore Playhouse, unfortunately, had to cancel the first show of the season. While this was a loss for us, it brought excitement and enthusiasm to provide much needed entertainment to the community. As soon as we got the call to return to Naples, the Props Department, as well as the rest of GP Production shops, jumped into action to get Leading Ladies up for audiences as fast as possible.
The process to put together GP’s production of Leading Ladies was a special collaboration with a dedicated and talented staff and production team with a common zeal to make Leading Ladies the perfect comedic antidote for Naples and the surrounding Southwest Florida community. I worked very closely with the Scenic Designer, Kristen Martino, Director, Darren Katz, and Stage Manager, Matt Van Slyke to be sure all props, furniture, practical light fixtures, and set dressing fit within the world of the show as well as help the actors tell the story written by Ken Ludwig.
The Props Artisan, Hayley Westphal, and I placed our own talents and attention to detail into each prop that came out of our shop. If you look for it, you can see that attention to detail throughout the show. For instance, the folding screen adjacent to the grand French doors on the set was handmade by Hayley (as pictured above). Special details can also be seen in all the floral arrangements and garlands, created by yours truly, the newspaper, telegrams, and portrait of Florence, the saucy millionairess of the Mansion in York, PA. The face of the portrait is the actual face of the actor cleverly photoshopped onto an existing photo of a painting. The picture was printed and meticulously put together by the talents of Hayley and her care for detail.
I hope that our production of Leading Ladies will be a source of fun and laughter for all of our audiences. Coming up next at Gulfshore Playhouse we present Arthur Miller’s The Price. This production is a prop person’s dream! We are set in a world surrounded by interesting antiques from times gone by as well as a harp built from scratch right here in our own production shop! You won’t want to miss it!
Thank you, and thank you for reading!