March, 2017 Issue

From the Chair...




Student Scholarship Winners
Minutes from the September Member Meeting
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


Monkey Wrench Productions- New Space
Gopher Stage Lighting Welcomes Josh Lentner
ETC CUE Professional Development Conference
Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     When I was young I wanted to be an astronaut.  The moon landings were still going on, we were putting men in space, and it all seemed so cool!  Then they had a space shuttle!  I remember watching the first launch.  Eventually, my parents, in that stoic, Scandinavian, South Dakota way they have said: “Corey, you are going to be too tall to be an astronaut.”  Hmm… well okay then… so much for that career.  I went through a few phases after that, including doctor, archeologist, and computer programmer, before actually starting college as an electrical engineering major.
    I loved doing theatre in high school.  Building the set, hanging lights, running sound; and I was good at it.  But my parents, in that stoic, Scandinavian, South Dakota way they have said “Corey, you need to study something in college you can actually get a job with.”  And so I did.  But I found that I could take theatre and art classes and they counted for fine arts credits that I needed for my major.  And after a day of calculus, physics and circuits, I could spend a couple hours building some scenery or painting a still life of a bowl of fruit and actually make myself happy.
    So I took more classes in theatre.  And art.  And I did well at them.  Calc III?  Not so good there.  After a couple years my engineering advisor, who also came to all of the shows that the theatre department did, sat me down and told me to just switch my major.  I needed to do what made me happy and it was obvious that happiness was not in electrical engineering.  So I had THE TALK with my parents.  “Mom, Dad… I’m gonna be a theatre major.”  They were supportive.  They didn’t quite understand what exactly I would ever do with that major, but they were accepting.
    Twenty five years, many productions and 17 years of teaching later, my son sits me down and has THE TALK.  He has, over the years, talked about being a social studies teacher, some sort of geographer/satellite imaging thing, and a computer networking something something.  And now, he’s 18.  About to graduate and start college next year.  And wants to be a theatre major. He wants to do lighting and sound.  He wants to do what I do.  He wants to be just like his dad.  Wow.
    Now this is of course all my fault.  He has grown up in theatres over the years.  He got passed around all the women in the costume shop when he was three days old and we stopped at the theatre I worked at on the way home from the hospital.  Any show I have done that did not involve flying somewhere across the country, he has seen.  I recall discussing the major plot points and themes of The Cherry Orchard with him after he saw a production I designed when he was 10 years old.  Not many 10 year olds are able to discuss Chekov.  But he could.
    Strangely I had the same reaction to the news of his desire to major in theatre that my parents did.  But for different reasons.  So I talk to him realistically.  Coming from years of doing this.  And in that stoic, Scandinavian, South Dakota way I have, we talked about the evenings at rehearsals, the weekends working on scenery, the events in his life that I missed because I had a tech rehearsal or an opening of a show.  Is this REALLY what he wants to do?  It seems that it is.  So I am going to support him and his dreams as this new phase in his life begins.
    If you are reading this, you are part of USITT-NBS and you probably have the same passion for theatre that he does.  There is a reason you work in, teach or study some aspect of theatrical design/production.  Whether you came from another major or line of work, or always wanted to do this, you understand the draw of the theatre.  That thrill that we have when we see our work on stage.  The goosebumps at curtain call when the actors get a standing ovation – and we know that they are wearing our costumes, standing in front of our scenery, holding our props, illuminated by our lights and hearing the bow music cue we selected.
    Yeah, I think he’s making a pretty darn good career choice.   [ ]