gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 - Page 74

Matthew Russell Hendrickson THEATER scene Matthew has been involved with community theater for over 35 years. He is currently a designer’s assistant for Brotin Design, a founding member of a local film production company, Oscar Dante Motion, and is still heavily involved with local theater. Meet M ost of you who attend theatre productions have looked through a theatre program to read the biographies of the actors. You may have skimmed the listing of the numerous behind the scenes people associated with the production but have little understanding of just what those people do. This article highlights one of those “unsung” backstage heroes with- out whom there would be just an empty stage and players fretting to be upon it! Of all backstage personnel, the director role is easily understood as the person responsible for both the vision and execution of performances we see. There is, however, another role backstage that must be filled before any director can begin working, much less, cast even one actor in any show. The producer selects not only the director, but all creative personnel, directing both the creative and business side of any production. Marianne Snook, a long time member of the board of directors of South Valley Civic Theatre, has filled the role of producer many times for SVCT since her first show in that role in 2013, “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” 74 Marianne describes the job of producer as one that includes “general and generic tasks that need to be completed. Each show has its own unique requirements. I have produced shows with huge sets, which means lots of time, planning and money. I have produced shows where the costumes were the most critical part of the show. I’ve also produced shows where we needed a large orchestra. In addition, every staff has a different “personality”, so I need to identify how to work with each individual and in some cases each group of people.” The greatest challenge of producing any show is assembling the right technical and artistic team for that show. This requires building a team that includes the director, set designer, lighting designer, perhaps choreographer, perhaps musical director, and stage manager well before any auditions are held. Marianne shared that the process of “starting with a box of scripts, a concept, auditioning a wide assortment of people and bringing that all together and putting on a great show,” has been a source of personal and professional satisfaction for her. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN february/march 2019 While this may indeed be a very satisfying endeavor, it can also be full of all the frustrations any CEO, team lead, division manager, and/or any other person responsible for leading people to produce a final product on time, on budget, and that is marketable may experience. Unlike these professionals, a community theatre producer has not assembled a team that is being paid for their efforts. The producer must assemble a team of volunteers who are willing and capable of working essentially a second full time job for four to six months for the sheer joy of seeing a collective artistic vision come to life on opening night. A producer must pull this team together, manage frustrations, manage the disappointments of those not cast in roles they wished to play, and be ready to solve both technical and performance challenges as they arise to insure the show always goes on. This is not a job for the faint of heart. Given the complexity of the role of producer, and the fact that the person who is serving in this role can literally make or break a production, Marianne offers this piece of advice to both the first time and the returning producer: gmhtoday.com THEATER Marianne Snook