Universitas
"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

Designed for the stage

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When most people go to the theater, they comment on the acting and on the direction, but only a few will comment on the set.

"Theatrical sets are very important," says Cynthia Allan, chair of the Department of Communication.  "They help draw the audience into the world of the play. They provide the audience with a lot of visual information that helps put the acting performances in context." 

Students in the Department of Communication have the opportunity to learn how to build sets through their technical production classes and production experiences with PSU Theatre. Two of them, Austin Curtright and Drew Porter, had the opportunity of putting that learning to use this summer in internships.

Curtright, a sophomore from Galva, Kansas, worked for the Santa Fe Opera Company, a prestigious repertory company where shows are offered in rotation all summer.

"My job was basically to change the scenery out," he says, although it should be noted that the "basic" work to which he refers demands a high level of coordination between large crews of stagehands, knowledge of stage rigging, and operating safely in a very dangerous environment.

By way of contrast, Porter, a senior from McPherson, worked at Music Theatre of Wichita this summer and his job focused more on traditional stage construction.

"I started my summer working for Music Theatre of Wichita on May 20th and finished the summer on August 19th," says Porter. "Over the course of the summer we did six shows."

These shows spanned a large variety: The Producers, Camelot, Kiss Me Kate, Miss Saigon, The Drowsy Chaperone, and High School Musical II.

"I was hired on as a full time scenic carpenter," says Porter.  "We did all the building for the shows as well as the load in for each set.  I learned a lot this summer and had a very good experience."

Tree from Camelot Part of the set from Camelot
Drew Porter: "This is of a 600-pound plane we built and flew in on stage." 600-pound airplane


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