Stage lights that are too hot and make you look like a ghost. Countless hours of practice and memorization. Not having enough hours in a day to finish your work before rehearsal. These all sound like things someone would hate, but these are some of my favorite things about putting on a show. The stress coupled with the infinite feeling that nothing will ever be finished, mean absolutely nothing once you put on that first show of the season!
There is nothing like the thrill of stepping on stage for the first show. You're nervous, panicked, anxious, happy, sad, and pretty much every other emotion, all at once! However, so much goes into that one and a half hour show the audience is seeing. Light design, costume design, sound, the set, these are all things that the audience will only ever see a final version of, but it is so much more than that.
At St. Lawrence University, the Performance and Communication Arts (PCA) department generally puts on two main stage productions a year. This year, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Legally Blonde the Musical production in the fall. This is absolutely one of the best decisions I have made on campus, but it was also an eye-opening one. In previous shows, I was just expected to show up, say my lines, and leave. I left the rest of the details up to the “magic of theatre,” which was purely delusional. I never realized exactly how many people were involved in the process of theatre.
In our PCA department, students are involved in every aspect of the show, as theatre is not all about acting. We have fantastic assistant directors, students who work under set and costume designers, who help the dance instructor, and so much more! I saw this first hand, and it really made me thankful for the opportunity to learn about all of the aspects of theatre. This is where I learned how to tear apart a set, where I learned how much goes into lighting and sound, where I learned how hard it is to find costumes. Above all, I found friendship, great teachers, and excellent mentors.
Production performance seems like it only attracts a certain type of person, but in my experience, SLU’s program is home to a wide variety of students. There is something for everyone in this department, and the friends that come along with it are a good perk.
Being a part of the St. Lawrence PCA department is one of the best decisions I have made since coming to campus.