On the first day of a show, no matter what part of the show I am, be it a stage manager, techie, or actor, there is a rush of meeting/reuniting with everyone and seeing the whole plan for the play, and hearing the read-through for the first time; it is all miraculous. It means I know that for a couple of months, I will be spending my afternoons in a safe, happy place. It means I get to delve into a character or piece of wood and turn it into something dynamic and colorful.
An aspiration I have had since joining the theater is to become more in touch with my body. Keely has been an incredible help to me for this journey. Not only do you watch her and see a beautifully expressive person, who listens and reacts with her whole self, but also she has shown me what I need, to relate to myself better. I also want to embody a strong voice. Years of vocal exercise and awareness and work on articulation and knowing what I am saying have gotten me much farther on that path. Nick has helped me so much. He makes everything he wants to say so clear, and by repetition, teaches the same skills to his students. He has taught me so much of what I know about speaking effectively, not only in a performance, but every day.
Primarily, I am an actor, but part to be the best and most effective actor I can be, I believe I have to understand and fully appreciate all the aspects of a show. Being a “techie” is an incredibly eye-opening experience. Rick and Jerry and Sandy are unsung heroes of every NEYT show. The actors never see the part of all the research and actually building the set, directing the lights, and sewing the costumes. One piece of being a part of the tech team that stood out to me was being a stagehand. I not only was a part of worrying about a slew of set pieces and props larger than I have ever had as an actor, but there were other people’s things they needed set in exactly the right place, and barely enough space for it all. Had it been just me, I could never handle it, but Erik made everything seem easy, or at least possible. He had a creative idea for every problem, and the ideas almost all worked. By the end of A Christmas Carol, I felt I had a connection with the set that Erik guided me to form.
I hope as a mentor, I can bring everything I have learned about theater to action. I could help young actors sharpen their skills with articulation and constructive use of voice, as well as emoting with the body. I hope to improvise more ideas to solve barriers, physical, or mental. Most important, I hope to help NEYT embody a welcoming place for any youth in Brattleboro wishing to join.
letter from Louisa