Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the theater just won't leave me alone

People ask me all the time (based on my unusual height) whether I play basketball (or, occasionally, volleyball). My answer is, of course, no; I was (am) an art nerd. Back in high school I was in drama club. I was onstage a few times in various plays and dinner shows. I won best supporting actress in our Moscars. I helped build/paint sets and went with the rest of the club to acquire costume pieces from various thrift stores. Once or twice, I even dressed as a bobcat and played in a State Park.

In college, I took one theater class that required service hours in the department (which mostly involved cleaning out the warehouse-like costume/props/set room). I tried out for one play and didn't get a part. I was disappointed but not broken-hearted; I was starting to focus more on visual art and especially writing. In fact, my degree is in creative writing.

Then I got to Baltimore.

My friend Dave works as a G.A. in the theater here at UB doing tech stuff. My first semester in the program, he badgered me into taking on an Assistant Stage Manager position for the production of The Laramie Project. So I did. I enjoyed the experience; met some cool people and whatnot. It was fun to be part of the production without the stress of being on stage (I was mostly in charge of placing props/costumes and keeping track of the actors backstage).

Well, two more semesters go by. I have my hands in a little of just about everything: I'm working a retail job, doing work-study at the university library, running the student newspaper, and then being accepted for the G.A. position at OTS [see previous post]. I run into Kimberley, the theater coordinator, who tells me that they're looking for an ASM for The Exonerated, and that a few people involved in the production (who also were in Laramie) were asking about me. And I, like a crazy person, was like, "Send me the schedule! Maybe I can work it in!" Even she was surprised that I was actually considering it. But we talked back and forth, and she decided that she'd hire two ASMs so that I didn't have to be there for everything.

So I'm back in the theater. And the people involved with this show are incredible -- the ones I talked to seemed to have their hands in everything. The director's the daughter of a famous comedian and she's just taken over as artistic director for a local theater, plus she's got her own one-woman show (which she wrote) going to NYC next month and another she directed showing in Chicago. One of the actors I befriended studied musical theater at NYU then lived in Paris for six months and is now involved with at least three different shows simultaneously. Yet another is basically the quintessential performance artist: he plays piano and guitar, he sings in a band (which is apparently well-known locally) and is part of the decorating crew at Charm City Cakes. Others have TV acting credits and music and dancing and poetry and writing credits... it's exhausting. And inspiring.

Well, the play ran last weekend, and the cast party was Saturday night. So it's over, and while I love having my evenings free (well, some of them) I am bummed that I likely won't cross paths with most of them again (because who wants to be that pest on facebook going, "So, what's new?" all the time. I mean, I might anyway, but still).

But, Kimberley approached me during production and asked if I'd like to take over as her G.A. next year. After some pondering (the schedule likely won't be conducive to a social life, but my future at OTS is still sort of uncertain, and it wouldn't break my heart to get away from the desk job life) I accepted the position.

Her squeal of delight pretty much sealed it for me (who doesn't like to feel wanted? :P ). I don't know what I'm getting myself into, fully, but it looks like I'll be regularly involved with the theater for a couple more years now.

I'm feeling pretty excited about the possibilities, though.

1 comment:

  1. I'm signed into the blogger but don't have anything on it. Sonya invited me to view hers. It sounds like things are going well for you. I am very proud of you. I am looking forward to seeing you next week. I love you