Summer 2009: Theatre, Theatre, Theatre

closeThis post was published 11 years 6 months 1 day ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

This post took a long time because 1) I was moving the site, 2) I was doing lots of college applications all at the same time, and 3) I spent too long waiting for media from other people that never came. 1Never again! From now on, I’m setting target dates for important posts and publishing them no matter what pictures or videos I would still like to add. The amount of time I delayed this post’s publishing to wait for pictures that never materialized was utterly ridiculous. Once I bought my domain and started setting up WordPress in late October, I didn’t really want to publish any new posts at the old site. I didn’t want to publish anything at the new site either until everything was set up properly, and I only finalized the move in mid-February because I wasn’t through with college apps until mid-January. So sue me for wanting everything to work cleanly. Stupid Blogger and its spam-fighting hoops.

Anyway, I took a total-recall approach to this post, which was a bad idea now that I look back on it. I should have done what I did with my Guys and Dolls retrospective and taken a few notes every day to document what I was doing as I was doing it. This way, I’m sure a lot got left out, even if I did do a major brain dump right after getting back home in September. But the important stuff is there. And so, on with it.

When people asked me what I did last summer, I didn’t know where to start at first. Fortunately, I’ve had practice describing my activities, so I can start with a very concise summary: Theatre.

Less concise, but more precise: Technical theatre and stage design.

I spent two months doing a couple different so-called “Design/Tech” programs, both of which were halfway across the country from Minnesota (one was in Colorado Springs, CO, and the other was in Boston, MA). Each program had a different focus, which was nice. One focused on the technical side of things, and the other focused more on design; but they each covered aspects of both, and—more importantly, I think—they each taught me a great deal.


Before I did anything, I had to find and apply to programs that sounded interesting. I have to thank my mother for doing a lot of research for me. She found five programs to which I ended up applying, four of which I was very interested in.

Stanford was the most academic of the bunch. They offered what basically amounted to college-level summer classes for high school students. I wasn’t terribly interested in it, but figured applying couldn’t hurt. As it turned out, it was all right that I wasn’t excited about Stanford’s program. They turned me down. Oh well. No skin off my nose, except for the fact that Stanford’s application had taken the most time. Whatever. Next…

Alfred University offered a summer theatre program to which I applied and was accepted. It was a design/tech program, probably similar to what Emerson’s program was like. Speaking of which…

Emerson College had a great-sounding Stage Design program in their Summer Arts & Communications Academy. It got into everything: Set design, costume design, and lighting design. (Almost nobody has sound, unfortunately.) I got in there, too.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center offers a program called Youth Repertory Theatre every summer. I’ll describe it more in detail later, but it was highly technical with the promise of instruction in the basics of design.

For something different, LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) offered summer courses in various fields of acting. In London. In England. I applied for two of the courses—involving Shakespeare and physical theatre—and got in.

And those are the choices I had for this summer: Alfred University, Colorado Springs, Emerson College, and LAMDA.

Choosing which program(s) I’d do, though, wasn’t trivial.


Summer really isn’t that long. Three months sounds like a long time, but most programs don’t start immediately, and those that do don’t generally go through the end of the summer. Between the two extremes, there’s a lot of overlap. Doing more than two or three different programs is difficult, if not impossible. So I had to choose which programs to turn down.

Since Stanford was out, I really didn’t have to decide between academics or theatre. (Not that there would have been a contest; academic courses usually bore me, and I like to be interested in what I do during the summer.) However, I did have to choose between the acting side and the technical side. Because I’ve done years and years of acting (I’m currently in my 11th year at my extracurricular theatre school), I elected to explore the technical side of things this summer.

(Last summer at Northwestern University, tech was a requirement for all the actors. Since that program did ten shows in five weeks, we needed everyone in the shops getting things set up. That gave me my first experience with theatrical lighting. And yes, I do plan to finish my post about Northwestern. Eventually. It’s just complicated—more so than this summer. As demonstrated by the fact that I wrote this one faster and more easily.)

That meant that LAMDA was pretty much out. Not only was it yet more performance, but the information packet I got in the mail indicated that housing was not guaranteed, and food was not provided. Neither was transportation. Sure, Colorado Springs was even less certain, but it was a lot closer to home. I really liked the idea of traveling to London, but I didn’t like the idea of having to navigate a foreign country on my own for over a month. Also, the timing didn’t exactly work out with my front-runner, Colorado Springs. I regretfully sent an email declining LAMDA‘s acceptance. I will go to London in the future—definitely.

With London out of the way, and Colorado Springs becoming the one that I really wanted to do, Alfred and Emerson had to duke it out. Well, I had to duke it out.

In the end, it came down to timing. Emerson overlapped Youth Rep, but Alfred’s conflict was much worse.

So, in mid-June, I packed my bags and set course for Colorado.

Colorado Springs

The idea of the Youth Repertory Theatre program is to take a group of students ages 15–18, in both performance and design/tech, and provide them with the experience of a fully mounted show. Er, two fully mounted shows. (That’s what the “Repertory” part means. The program always does two shows—one musical, one straight play—on a rotating performance schedule.)

It just so happened that I was the only out-of-state student. Why? Well, Youth Rep (as we affectionately call it) is a local, day program. It’s not like the program I did at Emerson College (I’ll get to that next) where students come from all over the country. The Fine Arts Center is just a local theatre, and they don’t provide housing, food, or any of the necessities. It’s not designed for what I did. But it still worked.

After I sent in my application, I got a voice mail from Chris, the FAC‘s technical director. Traditionally, all applicants come in for an interview or audition (depending on whether they apply for design/tech or performance). In my case, that was obviously not an option. But he was happy with a telephone interview, and so I was accepted.

Fast-forward to after the afore-mentioned decision process. Once going to Colorado Springs was definite, I needed to find a place to stay. It just so happened that Margaret was again the key to part of my life. She has family in Colorado Springs (she has family and/or friends just about everywhere), and she asked them if they knew of people willing to rent out a room for the summer. She got back a lead pretty fast, which ended up being where I stayed. A little Facebook and telephone magic, and it was all set.


Upon arrival in Colorado Springs the day before Youth Rep began, I got settled in my home for the next five weeks. The accommodations were modest but comfortable, and only a few blocks from the FAC.

That first Monday morning, after trying (and, as it turned out, failing) to set myself a routine, I arrived fifteen minutes early to the Fine Arts Center, to find the lobby nearly empty. Not surprising, considering that the FAC is closed on Mondays; but wasn’t a program involving about 80 high-school students about to start? I didn’t have to wait long. People started arriving, first in a trickle, then in bursts, then in a steady stream. Within ten minutes, the lobby was echoing with chatter, squeals of delight at seeing friends from the previous summer, shuffling, and all the attendant commotion that comes with a gathering of teenagers. The front desk staff made futile efforts to shush the group while I edged toward the few other quiet types taking refuge along the sides of the space.

Promptly at 09:00, the doors to the theatre opened. Over who should sit where, there was some confusion. No directions had been given to anyone, but it was all straightened out. The staff appeared on stage. Faculty were introduced, speeches were delivered, etc. etc. etc. After about half an hour, the program officially started, amidst more uncertainty due to lack of instruction—this time, over the sign-in sheet that had appeared at the front of the house right aisle. (It moved to the green room bulletin board for the rest of the five weeks and became routine for all of us.)

Our design/tech group was a few students short; one had apparently decided to do something else with her summer, and another couldn’t make it for the first day. We made our introductions without the absentees; there wouldn’t be that much to catch up on. Once introductions (including one interruption, a full-company meeting in the rehearsal space that nobody had thought to tell our mentors about) were through and our “textbooks”—large red three-ring binders—distributed, we began to learn.


In the first few weeks, mornings were devoted to a classroom-like study of our textbook material: An entirely FAC-staff–written Design/Tech Handbook. I learned a lot of the basics from that text. We also did some design exercises: Listening to music and drawing it, getting a word or concept and expressing it through various art works, and creating basic, quick design sketches from two-page clippings of plays.

For most of the text, we simply read the material as a class, with Chris (TD/SD) and Holly (ME/LD) leading with expansions, examples, questions, and answers. A few subjects (such as stage management, production, and costume design) warranted bringing in other staff members, which was always enjoyable.

I would like to say that, while my classmates and I were occasionally reticent to have discussions, at least one of us had something to say 95% of the time (not always me, I freely admit). The number of silences after questions may have been a little high, but it was more often due to thought than a desire to not speak.

Beyond the Youth Rep program, my instructor at Emerson appreciated having examples of my style a month later. I grew rather attached to those exercise pieces. They’re all keepers.


With classes in the morning, shop training was left for the afternoon. For the first few days, the two were tied closely together, because we learned about the different tools in class and then learned how to use them in shop; but from there, they split.

I found shop to be very satisfying, especially once we started the build. Everyone had a hand in just about everything on stage; pairs or trios of us ended up having pet projects of a sort, in that we did most of the work for some particular design element.

For example, I and a pal (Calum, with whom I worked and chatted frequently; our banter quickly earned us the nickname “the married couple”) had a heavy hand in building Grizabella’s staircase on the main wagon (now that was one big rolling platform!). Calum, a second classmate (Steven, also a frequent work partner), and I all erected the piping on both house platforms. I and a third classmate assembled most of the scenic flats that would hang on those pipes.

Everything was interrelated. Nobody’s project was really isolated. Each of us probably had some part in 75% to 95% of the set. That kind of interdependency is really awesome when you look back on it, and it was all Chris and Holly planning the whole dance.

Aside from the scenic elements I was involved in, I am also rather proud of two other small projects in which I participated on which I was the only student. The first was hanging the three moving light units (the FAC uses ETC Revolutions) at the back of the house, setting their DMX addresses, and running their power cables; the second, running the headset (intercom) cables to the two scaffold tower follow spot positions at the back of house (one of which I ended up in) and interconnecting them to those in the booth.

No, I did not hang three $7,000 lighting units by myself. That job came after I requested some involvement in lighting. (I’d been doing nothing but scenic work for three weeks while people with no real interest in lighting hung everything else.) Most of the lights were already hung, but the back of house hadn’t been finished yet. So Chris, Holly, and I (feeling smug, of course, to be on special assignment :P) trooped up to the booth and did a little put-the-Revs-on-the-pipe-without-letting-them-fall-30-feet dance. That entailed Chris and me sitting in the glassless windows, using the pipe for balance and our feet to support the Revs. Oh, boy, was I glad when each unit was seated on the pipe…

Running headset and power cables took advantage of my existing knowledge of circuits. The challenge was finding the correct lengths of cable. Since most of the cabling had already been done on stage, the supply of available cable was limited for both types. I had to do some creative things to get cables that weren’t too short or too long. But I had fun doing it.

And by the way, the connections between projects were strongest when you were doing something on your own. Sometimes the smallest things—like headset cables—were very important. What would have happened if I’d messed up a connection and the follow spot operators (a group that included me, as it turned out) couldn’t hear each other, or the staff? (It couldn’t happen, because I checked the circuit myself when the cabling was complete. But it makes a good “what if” scenario.)

What I built

I lost track of all the scenic elements I was involved in. However, several of them stick out in my memory as pieces that I invested a significant amount of time in.

As a particularly remarkable example, I had significant roles in two of the three steps (I know, ouch) involved in making the staircase. With one partner, I glued and stapled about half the steps together. Then, a week or two later, Calum and I spent the better part of two working days stacking and securing and arranging those steps into a staircase bigger than either of us. We each drove dozens and dozens of screws into that thing. Neither of us knew you could break a sweat while sitting still, but we did with all that pushing on screws.

More screwing (a running joke) was involved in constructing the railing pieces for Midsummer. Those also got carriage bolts, which were great fun.

Before putting the steps on the main—huge—wagon, Calum and I (with help from Steven) put still more screws into the smaller flats on the back of the wagon, turning them into one big flat. That involved some ladder work and a few awkward positions. But it was all fun.

As I mentioned, Calum, Steven, and I single-handedly (triple-handedly?) put up the pipe frames on the house platforms that were later used for both hanging scenic flats and lighting instruments. If putting the flats on the back of the main wagon involved “some” ladder work and “a few” awkward positions, building the pipe frames involved awkward positions on ladders, ladders in awkward positions, and combinations of both. Plus those pipes were heavy: Ten or sixteen feet of steel pipe is no laughing matter when you’re surrounded by polished wood paneling and painted seat backs; you mustn’t hit anything or drop the pipe. But again, mostly fun, and we could all laugh at ourselves afterward.

Finally, those scenic flats I mentioned got three different stages of input from me. First there was that whole putting them together thing (staple gun and wood glue). Then there was attaching the flat goods (fake wood paneling, in my case) to a couple of them. Then I got involved in putting foliage on the trellis-type flats (with an upholstery tacker, a staple gun’s runt child). I was especially proud of putting those things together, at the time, since they were my first project.

Tech and Performance

The last two weeks of the program—and especially the final nine days—were devoted to finishing the last few details of the set, tweaking lighting instruments, learning run crew duties, and showcasing the fruits of our labors. I ended up not having a thing to do for most of Midsummer‘s first half, but my assignment as follow spot operator on Cats—as well as the backstage hang-out time I gained by my lack of duty during Midsummer—made up for that.


I won’t go into detail about the tech rehearsals themselves. If you’ve had them, you know what they’re like; if you haven’t, just ask Wikipedia. (I’ll give those of you without experience in things theatrical a hint: Tech week is often referred to as “hell week” or “torture week”, and for good reason. The rehearsals are very tedious for everyone, cast and crew alike.)

However, while Midsummer rehearsals were especially tedious for those of us with very few duties, Cats was a never-ending source of change, frustration, and entertainment for those of us manning the follow spots. Cues changed every day, and I (for one) never figured out all of the characters I was supposed to hit until the second performance. (Quaxo, if your positioning had been any less obvious…) Our entertainment, we got from headset chatter. Even on performance days, we cracked jokes, somehow managing to not irritate our SM.


All told, the performances were all enjoyable. With the exception of our last day (I’ll address that shortly), everything happened almost exactly as it was supposed to. Set pieces moved, props traveled around, light and sound cues ran, and the audiences loved it all. Predictably, Cats was a sensational hit, selling out all four performances. Many of us on the crew, including me, were hoping to arrange tickets for others—in my case, the guy who provided my housing and my mother—but didn’t move quickly enough, and had to deliver bad news. My mother got in to see the dress rehearsal by invitation, but she only saw the final performance by volunteering to be an usher; as it turns out, she wasn’t the only parent to do so.

The Last Day

Many differences cropped up in just the four or five days between the dress rehearsals on Tuesday and Wednesday and the final performances on Sunday of the same week. One difference in particular, however, wasn’t a conscious change by the creative staff. One of the leads got too daring during intermission of the Midsummer matinee on the last day and managed to injure himself severely enough to hold the show. He finished with a gauze bandage on the back of his head, close monitoring from the wings, and minimized appearances in the latter half of the show. He was taken to the hospital following the performance, but we still had one show left.

Cast and crew alike were worried about him. Never mind what would happen if he couldn’t perform in the evening run of Cats; he was one of us, and nobody wanted him to be hurt badly. So everyone was relieved when he appeared, fully treated and ready to perform one more time, in time to wow one more audience.

Alex Killian is one tough guy. He took a head injury, finished the show, went to the hospital, and came back to finish. Not many people can say that, and I deeply respect him for it. I am proud to say that I know him.

The End

Of course, that final performance was bittersweet. It wasn’t just Alex; five weeks with this group of people had gotten me rather attached. I suppose my position was unique; as the only out-of-towner, I alone was possibly seeing these people for the last time. Many of the others could count on working together again next summer; a lot of them attended the same schools. I couldn’t count on anything. I was only eligible for the program this year; barring some sort of special arrangement (which I might have to look into, now that I’m thinking about this once more), I can’t participate again.

But regardless of whether my future holds involvement with the FAC, my past always will. Who knows, I might decide to go to Colorado College. They have a rather novel class schedule, under which students take one class at a time for three weeks. I like the sound of that.


After a couple of days getting organized, repacking, eliminating unnecessary stuff (which went back to Minnesota—thanks, Mom! :)), and booking last-minute travel changes, I arrived in Boston, MA around midnight and got to Emerson College at 02:00. Getting checked in was pretty simple—a couple staff members and both of my suitemates stayed up waiting for me—and I went quickly to bed after unpacking enough to get me through the night (read: pajamas). Tori, the program supervisor, told me when classes started (09:00) and said to come to her in the morning for directions to my classroom. I tumbled into bed, setting my alarm for 07:30.

I slept through it.

Tori woke me up at 10:00 via proxy; I was roused by Ben, one of my suitemates, knocking on my door. I rushed through the process of getting dressed and went out to knock on Tori’s door, which was next to mine—interesting coincidence. (It was also interesting that the reason Ben was around to rouse me was that he’d also slept through his alarm, because he’d stayed up late to greet me.) That first morning wasn’t the last time I had to rush to get dressed, but it was the first and last time I did so during class hours.

So, Tori led me to the classroom, by then nearly two hours late. It was not a good start to my first day that was actually already a week and change into the program. But the students and teacher were welcoming, and I learned of the reputation I’d earned in my absence.

There were many conflicting stories going around regarding me, the mysterious tardy student. One of the most popular was that I was up in the mountains building houses; another, less credible, said I’d been eaten by a mountain lion and wasn’t coming. Most of the rumors did get one thing right: I was in the mountains. After all, Colorado Springs is up at about 6,800 feet.

All those rumors earned me the nickname “Mountain Man”. Heh. Well at that point, I felt like one. Coming from 6,800 feet to just above sea level… Just imagine.

First Project: Drafting

Anyway, I got right into the thick of things. I already had a partner for a project they’d started two days before; she’d come up with a set design for a short play called Film Noir by Bathsheba Doran. My first assignment was drafting elevations of my partner’s scenic elements.

Now, I’d never done any drafting before. Well, not formally. (I had a tendency to doodle geometric shapes in class when I was younger.) But before lunch I’d gotten a crash course and was well on the way to producing what Brynna—our teacher—would later call “pretty drafting.”

I spent as much time as necessary on every elevation. If I thought something didn’t look right, I rechecked it. I couldn’t be rushed. I knew the project wouldn’t stop with my work, and I wanted the next step—whatever it was—to go off without any hitches due to negligence on my part. As it turned out, the drafting was made into a white model. Julia, my partner, worked long and very hard on her model, and I think it turned out very well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get pictures of the finished model in a timely enough manner, and even one sheet of drafting is far too large to scan.

Costume Design

Individually, we each also started a second project in tandem with the individual/pair design work, called our “refrigerator character.” This was a character to be designed from scratch, using only a photo of a refrigerator taken by someone else in the class. The design would, ideally, include as much detail as possible, including name, occupation, age, home, familial relationships (if any), personality, and whatever else we could come up with, though the character’s costume was the most important component.

My photo 2Unfortunately, I never got a digital copy of my photo during the session. Whoever took it didn’t keep a copy (I asked all my classmates) and Brynna didn’t keep them either. I have a print-out, but it’s hard to take to the library and scan because it’s mounted on a foam board for presentation. I’ll keep working to get a copy somehow… prompted my imagination of my somewhat wacky character, a 47-year-old divorced fraud analyst at U.S. Bank named Alan Kluesner residing in a rather messy mansion in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa (my full notes). The kicker was actually finding a Plaxo profile picture of a forty-something U.S. Bank fraud analyst in my research. Of course I spent far too long researching Alan’s life, from where he might live and work to what his home and office might look like, but I think it was worthwhile. (I won’t deal with adding any of my research photos to this post; suffice it to say I have pictures of possible offices, houses, clothing, and so forth.)

This project allowed me to exercise my Google-fu and my skills in watercolor and GIMP. Taking a few pieces of costume research and a sheet of tracing paper, I got my character’s shape down. I then photocopied the tracing and watercolored it. Finally, I scanned the finished watercolor into the computer and cleaned up some of the rough watercolor edges. Below, the final cleaned version:

Alan Kluesner, my costume design project

Alan Kluesner, my 47-year-old bank fraud analyst character design project


Another project was a group lighting design, created to go with a song. As a group, we chose the song and collaborated on colors, angles, and timing. Our guest instructor, Scott Pinkney, taught the basics of lighting and helped us with our choices. The song ended up being “Helter Skelter” as heard in the movie Across The Universe. Our efforts are documented in the video below (until such time as it may be removed from YouTube for copyright infringement :P).

Grunt Work

Because our lighting instructor (not Brynna) was the lighting designer for Shakespeare on the Common’s production of The Comedy of Errors, we all spent two days helping to assemble the set for the show before we began the lighting curriculum in earnest. It was fun, even though the weather was a little hot and I’d already spent the better part of five weeks building sets. We got our names added to a program insert for our trouble. 😀


We had a week of three-hour makeup classes, too, where we learned the basics of stage makeup and experimented with color, fantasy characters, old age, and some trauma (bruises, cuts, and so on). Funny how I tried to include a Bajoran as a fantasy character; too human. But one of my classmates turned herself into a panda. (We jokingly called her “pissed-off panda” for the rest of the session, because she got annoyed whenever anyone said she made a cute panda.)

Final Project: Solo Set Design

Concept sketch for my set design

The concept sketch I drew for my set design before beginning the research and compositing process

Each of us also took on one final project. Mine was a solo set design, which I created based on the short play The Message by Hilary Bell. I began with a mental concept, which I then sketched. I did dozens of image searches for the various components of my design, saving them all (and embedding the sources in the file comments) and adding them to a GIMP file, and then composited the entire scene together. Making everything fit and look reasonably natural took a little effort, a lot of patience, and far too much time, but the end result, below, was totally worth it.

"The Message" set design composite

Digitally composited set design concept for The Message by Hilary Bell. Some photographic elements copyright Headshot London Photography, Imperial Theatre, and others

The wall portraits are all separate layers. I imported the headshots one at a time, added a border, and then used the perspective transform tool to “place” them on the walls. Conveniently, the walls in the greenroom photo I ended up using were built from concrete blocks, and thus had lines on them for me to follow. I laid in the couple, cart, and baby separately, erasing away the empty parts of each picture (standard practice). Much of my time went to tuning pixel-level detail around the more complex shapes and arranging the portraits. While preparing the image for posting here, I actually noticed a detail or two (like the shadow at upper left that isn’t cast on the actress’ headshot) that I didn’t catch, but I think it still looks pretty awesome.

Since I had time to spare in class, Brynna suggested that I print the composite, trace it, and create my own watercolor version of the scene. So I did. It, like the refrigerator photo character, was good exercise for my neglected watercolor skills.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Looking back on the work I did at Emerson, I spent most of my design lab time either behind a drafting table or behind a keyboard. I suppose that indicates what I enjoy and/or what I’m good at. (Like I didn’t know I enjoy working digitally. :P) The drafting was surprisingly satisfying, and I’ll have to look for more opportunities to do it.

Traveling the Northeast: Family and Colleges

When the Emerson program ended, my mother picked me up in Boston and we drove to meet up with my father, who turned 60 last June. My parents celebrated his actual birth date with local friends in Minneapolis; however, since the main corpus of my dad’s family lives in Pennsylvania, my mother set up a second celebration in the East.

We spent a week at a rather nice campground in southwestern Pennsylvania, the five of us (Mom, Dad, my brother, me, and my four-year-old nephew), sightseeing and visiting family and friends in the area. I took far too many pictures of my nephew (as I always do—he’s too damned cute) and the new 16GB SD card I bought in Colorado Springs when my 4GB card got full came in very handy. Not that I came close to filling it; I’ve barely managed to use half of it—including copious video clips—and I haven’t yet emptied it.

After my dad went home (with my nephew) and my brother returned to school, my mother and I began a wandering tour of colleges in the northeast. We visited (listed in no particular order): Muhlenberg College, Alfred University, Brandeis University, Hampshire College, Amherst College, Brown University, Cornell University, Ithaca College (where my cousin is currently a freshman), and Carnegie Mellon University. At most schools we took the admissions tour, though some got less attention and some got more. (For instance: My cousin took us around Ithaca herself, but Amherst got a mere drive-by—the timing didn’t work out for a tour, and we’d just spent most of the day touring Hampshire College.)

I found some good options through those tours, and eliminated a few choices. The experience got a little tedious at times, but I ended up applying to Brandeis and Brown (from this list only; I sent out nine applications total). Brandeis even looks like my current front-runner, so I’m really hoping I get accepted.

Home at last

After returning home, I added up how long I’d been away. The total was three months. Three months! That was a long time to be living out of one duffel bag and a backpack. Not that I haven’t done that before; I last did it in 2007, when I went on two three-week canoe trips in Temagami, Ontario followed by a month of exploration on the roundabout (via New York) drive back. (I definitely suck at blogging about my summers. Two pretty major summers—2007 and 2008—never got blogged about. That’s fine, I know that I fail. ;))

I got involved in the youth group play at our synagogue as an assistant director, and got myself roped into being part of the pit orchestra too (I just had to open my mouth…). That’s been giving me some useful experience in directing and leadership; it performed the first week of February.

Guys and Dolls led to another pit orchestra opportunity that I couldn’t resist, and I simultaneously got another, unrelated offer to run tech at the Jewish Humor Festival (which I keep typing with an extra ‘e’ after “Humor” for some reason). My last two summers of learning about tech came in handy, and I picked up a bunch of new skills as well.

The day after the end of the Humor Fest, I got another job at the same theatre running projection for their next show, Jack and Rochelle, which I’m doing alongside continuing pit orchestra performances with the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company. Both productions run through March 28.

I’m also waiting to hear from colleges. 😛 (The first letter, an offer to be put on Colorado College’s waiting list, came March 15. ‘Twas but an advance scout for the coming—I’m sure—onslaught.)

Final Thoughts

No matter where I end up in the fall, no matter what I do with my time (write! photograph! sing! play violin! edit Wikipedia!)—I know that I learned a lot this summer. Hey, the carpentry skills I picked up in Colorado Springs already came in handy when we got home. A board on the steps of our back porch came off about a month after we got back, and I was able to go down to the basement, scrounge a power drill and some wood screws, and fix the step—once I stopped at the hardware store for a pilot bit and a Phillips driver bit. Set-building skills translate directly to the home–maintenance world, and vice versa.

I truly believe that everyone should do theatre sometime. It teaches useful skills, it’s good for stimulating creativity, and you get a real sense of accomplishment as you watch the audience enjoying each performance. Art may imitate life, and life may imitate art; but the art of theatre is life.

And that is what I learned this summer.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Never again! From now on, I’m setting target dates for important posts and publishing them no matter what pictures or videos I would still like to add. The amount of time I delayed this post’s publishing to wait for pictures that never materialized was utterly ridiculous.
2. Unfortunately, I never got a digital copy of my photo during the session. Whoever took it didn’t keep a copy (I asked all my classmates) and Brynna didn’t keep them either. I have a print-out, but it’s hard to take to the library and scan because it’s mounted on a foam board for presentation. I’ll keep working to get a copy somehow…


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.


  1. 1) I do think you should still write a recap of your summers of 2008 and 2007. Some details might have been lost in your memory by now, but I bet it would be a valuable exercise, and various people would enjoy reading whatever you write. Ahem.
    2) You should take that photo on a foam board to FedEx Office and see if they can scan it for you. I bet they have large-size scanners that could handle the task.
    3) Thanks for the mention in this blog post, and thanks for writing about all of your adventures and what you learned.

    • 1) I am considering recaps for 2007 & 2008, but any work on those will have to, at this point, take a back seat to current writing.
      2) The photo was printed at very low quality, so a scan wouldn’t be much help. But perhaps I should scan it just in case I never get a digital copy, as insurance against damage or destruction of the presentation board.
      3) You’re welcome; glad you enjoyed reading.

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