Raised in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Abbee Warmboe graduated from St. Olaf College in 2010 with a degree in Theater, specifically trained as a scenic designer and painter. She spent a summer as a props designer for the Des Moines Metropolitan Opera in Iowa before relocating to the Twin Cities. While searching for work, she discovered that our theatres had a high need for props designers so, with her experience from the opera, was able to shift her focus to props design. Currently, she designs props for Park Square Theatre’s season-opening production of The Liar, which runs from September 9 to October 2.
The Liar offers Warmboe a unique experience in props design. Normally, a props designer will have already created all the necessary props for use in rehearsals; but since the set of The Liar will be two-dimensional (refer to the previous blog “Flat Land: The World of The Liar“), Warmboe will be able to create props beforehand as well as on demand to try out during rehearsals.
The cast suddenly needs a vintage gramophone? Easy! Just get some cardboard, cut out a silhouette and paint it. Need a new wine glass because one bent? Okay! No problem! How about an instant cat?
Once they know what works well or not, Warmboe will produce the more refined two-dimensional props. These final versions may drastically differ from those used during rehearsals. The beauty of using cardboard, too, is that, if absolutely necessary, Warmboe can even make up to the last minute changes, for instance, if a prop fails to have the intended effect on stage.
This season at Park Square Theatre, Warmboe will not only design props for The Liar, but for The Realistic Joneses and Flower Drum Song as well. She has worked with directors Doug Scholz-Carlson, Joel Sass and Randy Reyes, respectively, in past productions and looks forward to working with them again. For The Liar, she also closely collaborates with good friend and scenic designer Eli Schlatter, together enjoying the challenge of considering “what jokes we can put in them (the set and props).”
Warmboe laughed a lot while describing her work to me. Designing props for The Liar has been super fun.