One of the most interesting aspects of doing sound design for a small space is that localizing sounds is not only easier but also perhaps more important than in a larger theater, especially if you want to enhance the overall realism of a set.
As an experiment, a while ago I purchased a small amplifier ($51.99) and a pair of 3 inch cube speakers ($21.50) from Amazon- both of them inexpensive. These have become essential tools in my bag-of-tricks. And at less than $75 they are a great investment.
I normally dedicate a couple of outputs from Qlab that ultimately are routed to a pair of outputs from the sound board in the booth. These are then sent out the audio snake to the rear of the stage, where I install the amplifier. From there it’s easy to run some easily-hideable, small gauge speaker wire to the speakers and I’m ready to roll. The little speaker cubes can be hidden inside props or behind a flat. Sometimes I hang them from the ceiling, firing directly down.
Somewhat amazingly, they respond nicely to a little bit of eq on the board to meet the specific characteristics I’m trying to achieve.
Telephone for at least 75% of the shows
Alarm clock for Hollywood Arms
Radio for Steel Magnolias
Tea kettle (always with the tea kettle) most recently for The Dresser.
Out-of-tune piano for Little Women The Musical.
How about you? Any inexpensive, practical tools/tricks that you use show after show?