Friday, March 28, 2014

Witness Uganda

I had the pleasure of working on the run crew for American Repertory Theater's recent production of Witness Uganda, a new musical relating the story of an aid worker with the Uganda Project.

Working on this show was great. Not only was it a memorable production in terms of music and quality, it promoted a very profound cause. Watching it night after night, I was amazed I didn't get tired of it, as we often do when working for months on the same show. I was very pleased my parents and relatives were able to come see it.

My title during the show was stagehand, but I also ran the follow spotlight for several big moments (to add another spotlight to the dedicated one). This meant a lot of pulling ropes and moving scenery, and then traveling through the building to get to the catwalks above the audience. It was pretty crazy, but we took steps to ensure everyone's safety during the run-- my own included. I certainly am in good shape now!

The set was pretty interesting for this show. We only used the area downstage of the proscenium, effectively making the stage much smaller and more intimate. The band was on platforms stage right. The main scenic element was a simple wood deck that rose and inclined to represent a hill (and various other things, sometimes). The scene shop used the "pit elevators" built into the theater to control this, and built a motor for the tilt part. It required two people to operate, and eyes onstage to make sure nothing and no one was under it. There were also projections on a huge screen/scrim setup, black masking that covered the screen horizontally and vertically, a few wood-and-steel, rustic scenery pieces that tracked on from the sides or were brought on by hand, and some dramatic, gauzy fabrics that moved across the stage as well. There were a lot of props in the show. Spanning between New York and Africa, there were a fair amount of culture shock elements to communicate, and the props and costumes really made that emphasis clear.

I'm hoping to continue working with the run crew at A.R.T. on their upcoming shows, Tempest and Finding Neverland. I made a lot of great friends between the crew, cast, and the Harvard Institute students involved. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a steady job for a few months during a show run-- right now I'm back to freelancing between Emerson and a few other places. Fingers crossed for the future!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Wow, it has been a while since I've written! After finishing The Importance of Being Earnest, we jumped right into rehearsals for the next Moonbox show, which was Company. I had a few more responsibilities on this show including booking rehearsal spaces, which is mainly what I spent December and January doing. I did have some time off to go to VT for the holidays, though :)

I worked freelance during that time as well, mainly with BeNt Productions and Emerson College. I taught a workshop on freelancing in technical theater at KCACTF Region 1 this year, which was a blast. Over 25 people showed up to hear me talk about my experience in the past few years, both while in school and after graduation, freelancing in this field-- I tried to cover everything from how to start networking and getting on the radar and choosing where to go, to tax forms and tool kits and advice on resumes and lifestyle. It was a lot, but I planned for a long time beforehand and it turned out to be quite enjoyable! Please feel free to comment/contact me for the information I presented.

In January, I worked on the strike for Robin Hood at the American Repertory Theater and wound up with a run crew gig for the next 2 months on their next show, Witness Uganda. So I'm working backstage at the shows instead of building the sets or focusing the lights, which is something I haven't done in a long time! That show, which promotes and benefits the Uganda Project, closes this weekend. I'll probably write a separate post about my experiences on that show, which have been great.

In February, Moonbox opened Company, which was a huge challenge for us. We all learned a lot, I hope-- I know I did! Company ran for month at the Roberts Theater down at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Lastly, my most recent news is personal: I am, as of this past Monday, the proud Auntie to a second nephew! Logan Christopher Liptak was born in the early morning to my sister-in-law Kate and my brother Dan; their first kid. I'll be heading home next weekend after Witness Uganda is closed and struck, and I can't wait to meet Logan.

Thanks for reading! More updates soon on my recent shows!