A Year and a Half in Review

Into the Woods, Gettysburg College

I seriously thought I had updated this site more recently and had originally entitle this post “A Year in Review” before realizing that it has been about 6 months more than that. Ah well it is worth the wait for some of you I hope (or you are keeping up with me via Facebook for shorter interval updates).

Since our online production of She Kills Monsters in the Fall of 2020 the Gettysburg College Theatre Department has by gradations returned to in-person shows with a full, unmasked audience. We started with Antigone Now (Melissa Cooper) inviting a limited audience to watch 7 masked performers who never came within 6 feet of each other. I actually did the scenic design for the show so that one of our students could do the costume designs as her capstone. We then moved of to Love and Information (Caryl Churchill) again with a spaced audience and masked performers. The show did feature a cast of 30 but there were never more than 3 actors on stage at a time. Starting off the 2021-2022 season we mounted a full blown version of Into the Woods (Sondheim/Lapine) on the much bigger Majestic Stage. The full audience was still required to be masked and vaccinated but the fully vaccinated cast was permitted to sing their hearts out mask-free. In the winter slot I took on both the roll of costume designer and scenic designer for Twelfth Night (Shakespeare). The experience did not end up being as fun as I had hoped due to some artistic differences with some of the visiting staff but the cast was great and made it all worth the hassle. The performers were again mask-free with a masked audience. Lastly we finished up the season with the powerful play Pipeline by Dominique Morrisseau. The show which requires 5 of the 6 actors be black as part of the plot of the play was an effort by the department not only to tell Morrisseau’s amazing story but to get more students of color involved with the theatre program. Performances were unmasked and mask optional for the audience. It all felt very normal and was a heartening way to end the semester.

Now summer is here and I am working on a myriad of projects including a quilt backdrop for the Gettysburg Juneteenth Festival, the second installment of my Absalon book Trilogy, and hopefully some painting.

She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms

Well, we did it! Thanks to Covid we created our first ever digital performance with Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms”! It was not what anyone wanted- we had stated with elaborate plans for an outdoor version of Nguyen’s original play “She Kills Monsters” using a cast of over 30 mostly as D&D monsters. But when our college had to de-densify campus due to Covid 19 and half of the cast was sent home we transitioned to the zoom version of the play. But after working through that disappointment the cast and crew came around and put together a stellar show proving the resiliency of the human spirit. We hope to not have to do it again but now that we know we can do it and do it well we are no longer fearful if safety concerns direct us to the digital realm in order to practice our art.

Not very sensible Sense and Sensibility

The Dashwood sisters unhappily encounter the Steele sisters at a party in London

Like many schools, colleges, and professional companies around the globe we have had the misfortune of canceling our last production of the season, Macbeth, before its completion. To comfort myself I am trying to concentrate on our most recent and highly successful and enjoyable production of Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. My good friend and colleague, Chris Kauffman, adeptly directed a stellar cast of Gettysburg college students and wrangled us designers to handily create a truly beautiful show that has become the best show I have worked on so far. It pushed me to the limits both costuming and painting-wise and I was never so proud to be so exhausted. I dearly hope it will not be the last show we ever do but, if it unthinkably must be, what a fitting end to the most amazing job I could ever imagine.

I have posted a few more photos and the original designs on the costume page if you are interested.