Monthly Archives: March 2015

University Theatre Speaks – Bethany Reinfeld

by Melinda Menard

The build might be over, but there is always work to do.  We spoke with Good Kids Technical Director and MFA Candidate, Bethany Reinfeld, about her experience at UW.

 

Bethany Reinfeld

Bethany Reinfeld

 

Is this your final production at UW?

This not my final production at UW. After being Technical Director for Good Kids, I will transition into Assistant Technical Director/ Logistics Coordinator for UT’s production of Legally Blonde The Musical.

 

What productions have you worked on in the past?

Technical Director:

Greater Tuna (UT UW-Madison, 2014)

Richard III (UT UW-Madison, 2014)

Woyzeck (UT UW-Madison, 2013)

 

Assistant Technical Director:

Summer and Smoke (UT UW-Madison, 2013)

 

Technical Director/ Scenic Designer:

All the Best, Jack (NovaLight Artistry, 2014)

Broadcast (Intermission Theatre, 2014)

An Evening With Poe (UT UW-Madison, 2013)

Space Voyage: The Musical (Intermission Theatre, 2013)

 

 

What draws you to theatre?

The draw of theatre for me is that theatre allows me to constantly be challenged.  By forcing me to think of how to solve new ideas everyday, I get to work in an environment that is filled with creative minds that strive to produce a work of art that will affect people and their lives.

As a child my family didn’t have a lot of opportunities to go see live theatre. My elementary school didn’t have a theatre program. It wasn’t until high school that I found theatre. But there was a rare occasion where we did get a chance to see a show. There was a production of A Christmas Carol that was produced at the Guthrie.  I can’t recall a lot about this production, however there was one moment during the show that intrigued me.  Scrooge is going home from his office and the other characters picked up these fence pieces and the cast would move around stage with them. By doing this it created a path for Scrooge to walk home. As a young kid I understood that this symbolic moment represented a passage of time and place. It didn’t register with me until my final year in Undergrad that this feeling and understanding is what I most enjoy about creating live theatre.

 

What exactly does a Technical Director do?

The technical director (TD) is the technical manager in charge of assessing, planning, and implementing the monetary, time, and labor needs of a given production or production season within a theatrical environment. All while maintaining a safe, clean and orderly working environment.  During the design process the TD is an active participant from first conception all the way through to opening night.

 

What are the biggest challenges a Technical Director deals with on any given production? 

Each production produces a new set of challenges. As TD you never really know what is coming next. However, this is something that as TD you are ready for. The challenge really comes in where as TD you try to walk this thin line between being a designer and producing scenic elements that fit within the time, money, and labor restraints of a production. The challenge that goes with this is how people communicate with others. How to say what you are trying to communicate but still keep the world of the play and creative atmosphere alive.

 

What do you think the title “Good Kids” refers to?  

For me the title Good Kids refers to people who are always viewed as the good kid but in truth there is more to them than just being a good kid.

 

Do you use social media?

Yes and no. I have a Facebook account but I don’t use it to promote myself. For me its more of a way to stay in touch with my friends. I have Twitter, but I don’t post or even read it anymore.

 

How do you feel about privacy in the digital age?

What privacy in the digital age?

 

What about this production…

 – Intrigues you? 

How technology impacts our everyday lives. How technology influences how we see people.

 – Disgusts you?

The amount that technology influences how we see each other.

 

What gives an artist the right to present a play that is based on a true story?

The idea that this play is based on a true story does not mean that this play is presenting the true story. It is an interpretation of the events that happened.

 

Why should someone see this production?

People should see this show to get a refresher about society today and how technology and people interact or not interact.

 

After you graduate, what would you like to see if you were to come back in 5 years?

In 5 years I would like to see a production season that is diverse in terms of challenging the producing company but more importantly a season that gets people out to the theatre and thinking.

 

 

A Small Thank You Can Mean So Much

by Melinda Menard

This year, the Department of Theatre and Drama has made it a priority to provide American Sign Language Interpretation for our productions.  Providing opportunities for the members of UW and the Madison community with hearing disabilities is one way that we try to engage with our patrons.  We are very grateful that someone that came to our productions took the time to reach out and say thank you for making opportunities like this available at our productions.  On behalf of all of us, Thank You Tess.  Your words are part of the reason why we create art every day.

 

 

ASL Thank You-1

University Theatre Speaks – Ben J. Golden

by Melinda Menard
Ben J. Golden

Ben J. Golden

University Theatre caught up with Good Kids Lighting Designer, MFA Candidate Ben J. Golden, on the production.

 

Is this your final production at UW?

It is – seems like yesterday that I was designing my first University Theatre show!

 
What productions have you worked on in the past?

At UW I have designed lighting for Cloud 9, An Evening With Poe, The Yellow Boat and The Odyssey; I also designed/engineered sound for Richard III.

 


What draws you to theatre?

I love mixing the artistic and technical.  My dad was a carpenter for many years, and he taught me the kind of art and craftsmanship that comes from a mastery of a technical skill.  I enjoy theatre, in particular, because of its immediacy. Film, music, and visual art can all spark equally important ideas and emotions – but theatre is active – it’s a real person that you can connect with over the course of the hour or two as you listen to their story.

 
What exactly does a Lighting Designer do?

The lighting designer has a number of jobs in a play like Good Kids. (The job is a bit different on a musical like Legally Blonde)  The simplest is visibility – letting the audience see the actions and movement of the actors. Beyond that, a good lighting designer guides your focus as an audience member – and helps you easily pick out an important moment or gesture. With color and choice of angle, the designer can also subtly suggest how you should feel about a character or situation.   And if the designer does their job well, all of these changes should be nearly unrecognizable.

 


What are the biggest challenges a Lighting Designer deals with on any given production? 

The lighting designer has to support the action of the play in a way that helps the audience connect.  They also have to balance that goal with the need to create a visually interesting space or world for the play to occur in.  The biggest challenge, almost always, is making those two exist simultaneously.  And having a mastery of the tools and techniques to achieve that balance.

 
What do you think the title “Good Kids” refers to?

Everyone thinks their kids are fundamentally “good kids.”  We generally think the same way about our family and friends.  But the reality (and what, I think, Naomi Iizuka is exploring here)  is that no one is all good or all bad.  A “good kid” can do very, very bad things.  A “bad kid” can still do good.  I think it’s a reality we need to understand in order to really confront sexual assault in our society.  We can’t hide behind the shock that “good kids” could do such a thing.

 

 

 

 

With color and choice of angle, the designer can also subtly suggest how you should feel about a character or situation.

 

 

 

 

Do you use social media?

I do, although mostly for networking with my theatre colleagues and sharing interesting articles or stories.  I think I’m just old enough to not quite be a part of the generation of “digital natives.”

 
How do you feel about privacy in the digital age?

I think digital media makes us feel like we have more control over our privacy and our public image, but we are reminded every day how easily that privacy can be subverted when it’s all just bits of digital data that can be hacked, stolen, or falsified.

 
What about this production…
– Intrigues you?

I think this is a story that really needs to be told.  We have to–all of us–confront the way women are treated in our society.
 – Disgusts you?
That this story needs to be told.  That this kind of treatment of women isn’t a thing of the past.

 

What gives an artist the right to present a play that is based on a true story?

All art is, to some extent, a search for truth.  Political art can help give us distance and perspective that we might not otherwise have on a hot-button topic.

 
Do you feel that without programs such as the Big Ten Play Consortium and others like it, American theatre is bereft of female playwrights with shows in production?

Absolutely.  No one holds a copyright on the ability to tell stories.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, male, female–all people have stories to tell. Women’s voices hold every bit as much weight as men’s – and on issues like sexual assault they hold far, far more.

 
Why should someone see this production?

I’m not sure of the exact statistic, but something like 1 in 4 women in this country have been the victims of sexual assault.  That means that pretty much no matter who you are, you know someone who has gone through something like this.  This play helps challenge the assumptions that we make about who this can happen to and who commits this kind of violence.   It’s not a reality we want to confront, but it’s one we must.

 

After you graduate, what would you like to see if you were to come back in 5 years?

I would want to see a department that is alive and invested in its students.  That engages the campus community with tough issues like this one.