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I joined Theater freshmen year out of curiosity for its technical aspects. As a person of science and logic, I was, at first, skeptical about the artistic club and shy to interact with the boisterous Theater community. But the club was full of people whose passion for their work, either as future profession or simple hobby, was contagious. By the end of my first production, I began to enjoy even the simplest task of cutting newspapers to make fake rolls of money. I became enthusiastic about the process of designing and building sets, so much so that I signed up for Assistant Stage Managing and aspired to, one day, lead the crew.
I began Stage Managing during my second year in the club and, starting junior year, ran all three productions throughout the school year. As a student-run club, Theater was always on a tight budget. The stage of each production was a puzzle, pieced by materials leftover from the previous one. My theater advisor and my peers helped me design the set with thrifty creativity. The wooden structure to the second floor of a glamorous hotel was taken apart and reshaped into steps of bleachers in a Spelling Bee. The first level of the scaffolding for the Shakespearian Juliet’s balcony was an entrance to the Secret Hideout in Urinetown. The materials were the same, but by thinking outside of the box and touching them up with paint, I could create a brand new platform for actors to shine.
As I grew more involved and handled more responsibility, Theater began to share its more complex aspects. With drifting directors and reluctant school support, the club ran on a short leash. When I first joined, the upperclassmen and the theater advisor did their best to overcome these difficulties and prosper the club. But in junior year, with the former graduated and the latter retired, I, too, had to face these challenges. Disaster struck when the Music Department opted out on the annual musical because it couldn’t work with the chosen script. Without the orchestra, the production had to run on pre-recorded soundtracks. Without the department’s sound crew, I had to learn the technicalities of soundboards, XLR cables, and microphone channels in two weeks, while still borrowing these materials daily from the department head. Dealing with these obstacles led well into the night and often to tears of frustration, but I stuck through because the decade-old club always did. The show was a blast, and I knew more about sound than the little freshman ever expected.
As I stumble through each production, constantly changing my perspective and learning new sets of skills, my aspirations shift to a field that provides similar quality of refreshing challenges and creative solutions. I look at people’s projects, be it artistic or scientific, to find the unique aspects in their creation and learn from it. Solving technical puzzles with practical creativity is what I do best, so I intend to follow it through in a field of innovation.
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