As an electronic engineer with a passion for magic and theatre I developed the love for designing and building theatre props over 30 years ago.
For a number of years theatre props were my main activity. In the last few years I have been enjoying making increasingly more magicians props.
My approach is to design in close connection to my customer, which involves brainstorm sessions, project proposals and if applicable the realisation of the project including after sales service.
I love integrating all kinds of ‘everyday-life’ materials into props that I make. For instance a normal digital kitchen scale turned into a button counter, a flatscreen tv turned into a magic mirror, LED lights from Christmas lights turned into beautiful props.
The constant quest for materials that aren’t too expensive and can do the job with alterations.
Check my Magic Portfolio for all the creative solutions I have made in close communication with the Magician and/or Theatre artist.
Every prop is always made specifically for the usage of the Magician and theatre artist. I will never make the same prop twice if not for the same magician. So the intellectual ownership is always that of my customer.
I follow a couple of steps to start working on a prop. First of all I prefer to meet my customer face to face. That way he or she gets to know me a little bit and we can openly and spontaneously brainstorm about the idea. While talking with a customer I often start sketching the idea and start thinking about several add-ons that a customer might not have thought about.
After this initial contact I start my feasibility research: Is it possible to make the prop. What are the electronic elements, what are the physical elements (a prop is not just a electronic gadget, it needs to look amazing). The costs involved in materials I need to buy to make the prop etc. With this plan I meet up with the customer again to see if we’re going to try to make it (in some cases it’s not always clear if we can make it work, even if we buy the materials).
If I get a go to buy some of the needed materials, I’ll start building. The only financial implications for the customer now are the materials we need to buy to make the prop. My time is no cure, no pay.
Giel and I go back to 1977, when I worked with Maarten Altena on our first musical theater and was looking for someone who could make the legs of a kitchen chair jump. Through the grapevine I met Giel. I remember his living room was filled up by a weaving-loom he made for his girlfriend. Giel’s ingenuity in electronics and woodwork proofed to be limitless. Ever since our first encounter, his technical talent inspired me to come up with even more impossible questions so I could use his devices in my performances. I’m trying to recall them all, I’m sure I’m missing some: A burning Iron Violin, a two-meter high Philips lamp with a real working filament, a dibble-barreled gun with blanks, a remotely controlled talking head, the electronic control of a concert piano, and more.. Most recently in 2015 he created a talking skull with friendly looking glass eyes. Recalling all these creations, I think his next assignment is taking shape again…
For years Giel Cals has not only been a highly reliable and inventive thinker who comes up with creative solutions to ‘Impossible’ questions. But also the man who will built your ideas to the last detail. Solid, strong and always provided with detailed manuals that even I can understand! Giel’s personal motto truly is: “There are no problems only solutions”.
Giel thinks along, he makes what you imagine, is very precise
and everything he makes works great, is solid and exact.
Above all, Giel has a warm personality.