Drama students settle in for summer stock in Ohio

Friday, June 21, 2002

Well, I've been in Ohio only a little over a week and it seems like months. We have been endlessly busy -- holding auditions, casting shows and already getting into rehearsals by Sunday.

Our arrival to Bowling Green was an absolute blast. Meagan, Janel, Mikey and I were gradually introduced to the various other students who had showed up early for load-in -- students from colleges all over, including Mizzou, Hillsdale College, Bowling Green State University, the University of Hartford -- everywhere. Marcus knew a few of the people well since he spent last summer at Huron.

Monday morning load-in began. I can honestly say I've never worked so hard in my life -- lifting furniture, crates full of electronics, set pieces, pipes, boards, curtains. It all went on the trucks to be transported to the playhouse. It took us nearly three days to get everything finally moved into McCormick and begin its transformation into the Huron Playhouse. Setting up our dorms was an enormous task, too. Pulling out nearly 50 mattresses, flats (our makeshift walls, along with sheets), and air conditioners, we threw together our official living quarters in the span of a day.

Thursday the rest of the company who hadn't been at load-in arrived. I felt lucky that I'd been in load-in and had already made a number of friends. Everyone who had been at load-in got a head start on forming friendships for the summer. But it didn't take the newbies long to adapt. When you see the same fifty people day in and day out, it's hard not to.

Friday and Saturday we had endless auditions for the first three shows: The "Sound of Music," "The Nerd," and "Cinderella." I got very lucky and was cast as the lead in "The Nerd," Rick Steadman (or more conveniently, the Nerd). Janel was cast as the female lead in the show, Tansy, which was a big thrill. Meagan is assistant stage manager for "The Nerd" and was cast as Sister Margaretta in "The Sound of Music," so each of us has a huge workload ahead of us for the next few weeks.

Not to forget Marcus, who has been working non-stop as the scene shop foreman and associate technical director, and Mikey, who is busy working in the shop and putting together his sound design.

This week our real schedule began: Beginning work at 8:30 a.m. either in rehearsal or a work station, working until 10:00 p.m. with meals and a few breaks between. The first few days the Green Room, our lounge, was packed with people talking each other's ears off. Now when you walk in it's an enormous mass of sleeping theater kids quietly snoring. Sleep is, of course, a commodity you get as much of as you possibly can in order to function.

The surrounding community is wonderful. Huron and the local area towns (particularly Sandusky) are very supportive of the playhouse. The town of Huron itself is gorgeous, complete with beaches (one of which is just two blocks away from our living quarters), sailboats and stately old houses. We've gotten a few opportunities to go out and explore, which was great fun.

So all's well from Ohio. Next week we get to crack down more and I'm going to find out just how many deviled eggs I can devour in one sitting for "The Nerd."

Don't ask -- I'll explain soon enough.

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