Monday, March 4, 2013

January and February in Review: Catch-up Complete

After a very nice Christmas break, I headed on back to UNC for the second half of my sophomore year with a full load in front of me. Aside from one LAC and another run of IP, I’m taking Stage Speech, Costume Design, and Stage Management. And man, have I been having a whole lot of fun.

I’ve had a lot of firsts this semester, namely in meeting some of the people integral to the theatre department. My Stage Speech class is taught by Shelly Gaza, a specialist in voice, speech, and acting. Up to this point, we’ve learned some wonderful voice exercises, as well as proper breathing techniques. We’re currently working on Shakespearean sonnets that we’ll soon be performing. I’ve been able to put my new skills to practical use, as well – my last doctor’s appointment showed great improvement in my breathing, and I can’t help but think that this class has helped somewhat.

Costume Design has been my first true foray into the world of design. Run by Anne Toewe, the head of the Theatre Design and Technology program at UNC, it’s given me a significant challenge. Aside from learning some basic drawing techniques (which I certainly needed), we’ve already read two scripts, the classic The Man who Came to Dinner and the modern play Spinning Into Butter. I was tasked with creating a very descriptive French scene and research binder for the first; the second is the subject of our current project, a costume collage. We also have to write analyses for each mainstage show. It’s been a constant challenge for me, but I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s my only class on Tuesdays and Thursdays; entirely worth the long drive to Greeley.

Now we come to Stage Management, headed by J. David Blatt, a master scenic designer and general design aficionado. Each class, we’ve focused on a different aspect of stage management: the essentials of being a stage manager, coordinating with the different designers and shops, running rehearsals, etc. However, our class is also in charge of running the One-Act plays put on by UNC. We’re the stage managers. Now, due to the size of our class, there was no way that we could all be stage managers; no one-act play should ever require three SM’s. Instead, a few students were assistant stage managers for the mainstage shows, and two were chosen as house managers, tasked with running the lobby during performances. That left nine of us, eight of which were paired up and are working as dual SM’s with the four one-acts. That only left me. What’s a guy to do?

Well, with a recommendation from Anne (see: head of Design and Technology), J. David gave me the position of Production Manager. I’m in charge of making sure the entire show runs smoothly. That means keeping track of props, scene changes, interludes between the shows, coordinating between all the SM’s, everything. This is the first real job I’ve had in theatre.

And as terrified as I am, I’m loving it.

(I think I'm finally caught up! Thanks to anyone who's stayed around to read - I promise to try and post regular updates now. Until next time!)

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