Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
Undergraduate drama major Senior Magdalena Schutzler talks about her experience as stage manager for “Big Love.”
Charles Mee is not your average playwright–he actually encourages those who perform his plays to change whatever they want. Anything and everything from the effects, to the actual text itself. He also tends to write shows that are kind of insane.
Big Love has been credited with being one of the more difficult shows to stage manage–between lights, sound, people and objects falling from the sky, and lots of blood and cake. There is a lot to keep track of. While any average individual would be hesitant to take on this role, I jumped right in. I am primarily focused on scenic design (come see Pride & Prejudice next semester!). I was a stage manager in high school, and had a stage management internship at Source Festival this past summer, so I thought I knew what I was doing. This show proved me wrong on all accounts. It has been a challenge.
The description of this show says that it is about sex, revenge, and justice (and cake). But this show is about so much more than that. While there is a lot of charged energy between various characters, there is always a bigger reason behind it. The grooms will do anything to get the brides to marry them, and the brides will do anything to not marry these men. So much background work has gone into this show, from reading the original Aeschylus play, The Suppliants, to changing certain references in the play to fit a modern audience. The design work for this show was extensive, as it is an insanely tech-heavy show. There are tons of props, lighting cues, sound cues, costumes, and set pieces involved in this show. As a designer, it was great to be involved with such an elaborate show in order to see how all of these elements came together and created a whole. It was an invaluable experience to say the least.
Big Love features an entirely undergraduate cast–something that will not be seen again in Hartke for 3 more years (the graduate actors cannot audition their first semester). This is just the last element that makes this show unique. I am so glad so many came to see this beautifully tragic show that we all poured our hearts and souls into over the past 2 months. As Bella says, ”Take it for what it is…the glory of life.”