Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Remembering Speech & Debate

This past January I had the opportunity to stage manage Speech & Debate, an open-stage production for the Department of Theatre at MSU. Open-stage productions are completely student-run, so the show was directed by senior BFA actress Michelle Meredith. Michelle and I have known each other for a while -- we acted together in a couple community theatre productions in high school. So it was great to get a chance to work with her again!

It was the first show where I felt I had everything under control and figured out, having
assistant stage managed Palmer Park and stage managed Freshman Showcase.

I also took on the responsibility of prop master and projection designer. I was able to combine my love for organization and stage management with my creative side. I even designed the show's logo and poster.

The play itself held a lot of sentimental value to both myself and the rest of the cast. It dealt with a lot of "taboo" topics which most of us could relate to in our own lives. The character "Diwata" also referenced the musical Once Upon a Mattress, which was the first show I ever performed in with director Michelle Meredith.

I'll always remember that magical feeling that comes with being an actor on opening night -- but I've learned that that feeling also comes when you're a stage manager (or director, designer, etc.) It was so rewarding to see all of our hard work come together and create something important.

And to cherish those memories, we videotaped a couple of our favorite scenes from the show!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Disney College Program, get ready for Zach!!

It's been a dream for a long time: to work at Walt Disney World.

So when I learned about the Disney College Program back in early high school, I immediately put it on my plan for the future. It's funny: when I graduated high school, I was given back all of my records and files from my counselor. Looking through the paperwork, I found a questionnaire from my middle school days. My response for "what do you want to be when you grow up?".... Disney Imagineer.

It's definitely been something that I've dreamed about and strongly considered for quite some time. Most of my personal library of books is about Walt Disney World or Disney Imagineering. So it's only fitting that I would be interested in the Disney College Program, I suppose.

Now the time has come to make this dream a reality! I attended the recruitment presentation on campus last semester, and watched the online presentation just the other day. I filled out the web application and I set up my phone interview: Friday, April 2 at 1:00. I can't wait!

I've got all of my answers prepared. I'm definitely interested in being either a PhotoPass Photographer or a Character Attendant. Being able to work so closely with the characters would be amazing, and I have a good background in photography and assisting performers. I suppose I'd also be interested in working Attractions, but I think I'd have more fun as a Character Attendant. Hopefully I'll get one of my top choices!

What's great about the Disney College Program is that it's a huge first step for a career with the Disney Company. After completing the College Program, alumni can return during the summer for the College Program, and can apply for Professional Internships. That is definitely something I'm interested in. Perhaps an internship in stage management or production management with Disney Imagineering or Creative Entertainment.... I would absolutely love to be involved with the production of parades or live shows like "Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage" or "Finding Nemo the Musical."

So for now, all I can do is wait until Friday afternoon and hope I do a good job on the phone interview. I think I'll be fine.... I'm sure my love for Walt Disney World will definitely show through and my knowledge of Disney Imagineering will help make me a strong candidate.

Here's to the future.... hope to see more Disney in it!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Remembering Palmer Park

I've been meaning to write about my experience working as the assistant stage manager for Michigan State University Department of Theatre's production of Palmer Park this past October. So here goes...

Palmer Park was my first production with the MSU DoT. I was a bit hesitant at first, being a freshman and not knowing anybody involved. Boy am I glad I took advantage of the opportunity.

The whole process was extremely enlightening. I was able to sit in on auditions and see the casting decisions being made by the director. It was interesting to learn how directors see things and how auditions look from the other side of the director's table.

It was also very rewarding to work on a production that held personal, sentimental value. The play takes place in Detroit right after the race riots. There were numerous cultural and historical references that were quite relevant and meant something to either myself or my family who grew up in Detroit.

Another rewarding aspect of this production was that this production was the United States premiere of the show. It had been performed in Stratford not long before. Since this was the US premiere, the playwright, Joanna McClelland Glass actually came to see it. Now that was a perk! We got to actually meet the playwright of the show we were performing!

A lot of research and dramaturgy went into the rehearsal process of the show. We took a field trip to the actual neighborhood of Palmer Woods in Detroit and were lucky enough to be able to tour the inside of one of the houses. We also saw the house in which the playwright lived, and we toured other famous landmarks which make appearances in the script.

I am so fortunate to have been able to work with the director, Chaya Gordon-Bland, and the stage manager, Sarah DeBoer. Both were simply wonderful to work with and I am so proud to be able to say I was a part of this production.