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 There were numerous cultural and historical references that were quite relevant and meant something to either myself or my family who grew up in Detroit.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.


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