December, 2019 Issue

From the Chair...




Theatre Technical Director/ Designer: Georgia State Univ.


Upcoming Membership Meeting
Membership Meeting Minutes- Sept, 2019
Annual Conference and Stage Expo
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


Todd Reemtsma Joins Gopher Stage Lighting
Productions Around the Region
Student and Early Career Scholarships to attend National Conference



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd    I am sitting in my office, enjoying the calmness.  It’s finally quiet here.  Exams are underway and events have sort of come to a halt.  It’s sort of the calm AFTER the storm around here.  I’ll explain…
    We have been going through some scheduling pains as we get used to having two very active departments under one roof.  Our choir presents a madrigal dinner every other year and this was the first time it was held in this building.  We spent weeks early in the semester planning and searching for the best space.  We settled on holding it in the lobby.  Now this would present a bit of a conflict with the location of the box office as we had a production of Hedda Gabler that was scheduled in our proscenium theatre on the same nights.  But, we got it all figured out.  Plan in place.
    Three weeks before opening, we hit a bump in the road.  Our U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, would be doing a reading in our concert hall.  Normally not an issue, except that the lobby would be full of tables and a madrigal dress rehearsal underway as hundreds of people would be coming in to see the poetry event.  We couldn’t move the dress rehearsal.  Nor could we do the dress rehearsal earlier, then clear 30 tables, then reset them for a performance the next night.  There are some pretty elaborate decorations on those tables.  So what to do?
In a textbook example of collaboration between theatre and music we figured it out.  We moved Hedda from the proscenium to the studio theatre.  This also involved shifting from a proscenium to a thrust setup.  Thank goodness we had a minimalist concept from the start, as we made it work.  The madrigal dinner was then set up on the stage.  Garland was hung between electrics and banners and wreaths were hung in front of the back wall.  More banners hung off of the sidelight ladders.  A wall of Christmas trees lined the front of the orchestra pit.  The stage was transformed into a medieval dining hall.  Theatre and choir students came together to make it all work.  I was so proud of all of them.
    Did I mention that half of our scene shop was transformed into the catering area?  Serving a 5-course meal to 200 people each night takes up quite a bit of floor space.
    The most impressive part of all of this was strike after the final performance on Sunday.  The scene shop resembled Grand Central Station at rush hour.  Everything got done at about the same time.  Furniture for Hedda went out one loading dock to be taken to our storage building.  The catering folks were rolling racks of dishes and food out another dock.  Racks of Hedda costumes were moving one direction and racks of madrigal costumes were moving the other.  Dozens of Christmas trees were making their way across the building for a Yuletide concert the following week.  And then, there were all the road cases full of audio equipment rolling through as well, on their way to the waiting truck at the third dock.  Wait… what road cases are those? I forgot to mention that on that Sunday, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra were performing in the concert hall- three events in the building and probably 1300 total people in attendance.  And now, a semi-trailer full of audio equipment and musical instruments to be loaded at the third loading dock.  This was in addition to Hedda furniture, catering racks and Christmas trees.  What a night.  But it all went off without a hitch.
    While stressful, it is events like this that keep me energized.  Challenges arise, solutions are found.  Sometimes extensive thinking outside the box is required and creativity in planning is a must. 

I hope all of you have a safe and happy holiday season!       [ ]