Meet the Team: Our Favorite Moments in the 2017/2018 Season

Meet the Team: Our Favorite Moments in the 2017/2018 Season

1718 Season Art Collage

We’ve reached the end of our 2017/2018 season! We are so proud and grateful to have shared another season of inspiring work with our communities and with each other. As we reflect back on this past season, we want to share some of our staff’s favorite moments with you. If you have favorite moments you’d like to share, please add them in the comments below, or email them to us at info@arizonatheatre.org!

Charge Scenic Artist Brigitte BechtelBrigitte Bechtel, Charge Scenic Artist

ATC Artistic Director David Ivers has coined a new phrase around the office: “ATeamC.” This neatly sums up the spirit and wherewithal of our production staff. Without a doubt, each team member takes to heart the concept behind “ATeamC.” No matter the challenge before us, we work together to achieve the finished product for our audiences with the utmost professionalism and quality – and we have a good time doing it!

The River Bride drop is a perfect example. It took four scenic artists and one week onstage. The River Bride team was so excited to see the drop unstapled from the deck and fly. Our director, production stage manager, technical directors, and scenic artists all worked together to get the drop died onto the pipe and in the air. In fact, our director, Kinan Valdez, couldn’t even wait until the drop was done – he made the long climb up a spiral staircase with me to the mid-rail thirty feet above the stage deck to sneak a peek at the drop in process! While the River Bide drop was in intricate process which required fierce attention to detail and maximum efficiency from the scenic art team, the atmosphere remained fun.

Go on, you know you want to say it: “ATeamC! ATeamC! ATeamC!” Cheers for our upcoming 2018/2019 season and beyond!

Phyllis Davies, Costume Draper (and sometimes tailor)Costume Draper Phyllis Davies

My favorite part of this 2017/2018 season was very personally rewarding, though not a huge impact for others. For Man of La Mancha, there need to be some law enforcement/military personnel, and because of the time and location setting for the show, the designer used the Spanish Guardia Civil [uniforms] for these personnel. These uniforms are not exactly readily available, even on the internet! Fortunately for me, the number of costumes being built (as opposed to purchased or pulled from stock and altered) for La Mancha was small, so there was time to actually tailor our own uniforms! Our schedule rarely allows the time luxury of in-house tailoring, so this was a treat for me. A chance to drag out and brush off some semi-rusty skills, and put them to use! Yippee! And to do it in multiples, since there were two guys in Tucson and two in Phoenix, only one of whom was the same actor in both cities.

The frosting on the cake was that these costumes also filled my favorite niche in a show: the items which get the most amount of time spent to accomplish them, yet appear on stage for the shortest amount of time.  And our stock room now has a set of three matching uniforms, in an assortment of not particularly common sizes.

Anna Jennings, Artistic Intern

Artistic Intern Anna JenningsThis season I had the privilege of sitting in on rehearsals for Outside Mullingar. It was my first peek into a rehearsal process at Arizona Theatre Company, a particularly exciting experience for me as the Artistic Intern. I dropped into rehearsals periodically to gain insight into the collaborative process of professional theatre. In the early staging rehearsals, I watched ATC’s new Artistic Director, David Ivers, bring John Patrick Shanley’s beautiful language to the stage. As rehearsals progressed into in-depth acting work, I witnessed the talented actors bring life into their characters. In technical rehearsals, I saw the entire company – the actors, the director, stage management, the designers and crew – piece together all of the intricate moving parts to create a stunning production.

I specifically remember following the development of the scene where Tony Reilly (played by John Hutton) asks his son Anthony (played by Larry Bull) “Am I proud of you too late?” My fondest memory of the entire process was hearing this line on opening night for the first time with a full audience. Everyone found the moment as powerful as I had all along, but it was even more powerful when I experienced it in a full house. It served as a reminder for me of the power of experiencing a play collectively with a live audience. Opening night for each of this season’s productions demonstrated the transformative power of the audience, but Outside Mullingar was a particularly special experience for me because I was lucky enough to witness its growth and the talent of the company firsthand. This production was just one of the highlights of my internship over the course of this exciting season, which has been full of inspiring experiences and excellent productions.

Paul Lucas, Properties Master

Properties Master Paul LucasMy favorite moment of the season came in a most surprising way. In my 15 years with Arizona Theatre Company, I have attended many designer runs, but the one for Outside Mullingar stands out for me and will the rest of my life.

I began the show process as I do with every show by reading the script, my main focus at that time is to identify props, but with some scripts I get so sucked into the story that I need to go back and reread to create my prop list. When initially reading Outside Mullingar I thought to myself that it was a really good story with some interesting twists and turns, but surprisingly I did not find it to be particularly humorous and only needed to reread certain sections.

The Outside Mullingar rehearsal period itself presented some challenges, but nothing out of the ordinary – except of course the debut of our new Artistic Director, David Ivers. Another thing that stood out was Glenn Bruner, (Stage Manager, 21 years with Arizona Theatre Company, 37 years stage managing) saying many times that this group of actors were some of the best he had ever worked with. For those of you that do not know, every production we put on stage has a designer run, generally held on the last Saturday of the third week of the rehearsal period and four days before the actors move from the rehearsal room to the stage. Designers and pertinent staff gather in the rehearsal hall for what is hoped to be an uninterrupted run-through of what we will see on stage the next week. What’s lacking is lighting, sound support and effects, costumes, and of course the set. Just the actors, the props we have provided in the last three weeks (hats, jackets, umbrellas and the sort) – pretty bare bones.  

We gathered in the rehearsal hall on January 13th, I began chatting with Mary Jo Ghory. Right off the bat I was so absorbed into the story that time and space were suspended, I had no physical awareness that I was in the rehearsal hall that I go to every morning hundreds of times a year. It was so surreal; Mary Jo was not next to me, coworker’s voices and laughter were only a blurred image in the periphery, not really part of my reality. I laughed, cried, and felt the pain and pleasure of all four characters. When the run ended, I looked at Mary Jo and could tell that she to very much enjoyed what we both witnessed. I don’t think she knew of my experience, but the look in her eye appeared to be one of a pure enjoyment of a theatrical experience. Afterwards, I told David Ivers of my sheer delight and pleasure of what I had just seen, and he asked that I share it with the actors, which I did. The pages were brought to life in a much larger way than I ever thought would happen, the humor was in the delivery and facial expressions that supported the words.

Glenn Bruner was spot on with his assessment of the talent that had gathered on the second floor of the Temple of Music and Art.

Elizabeth Westrick-Von Ogden, Stewardship Coordinator

Stewardship Coordinator Elizabeth Westrick-Von OgdenAs a native Tucsonan who grew up on the south side, I never had the opportunity to go to the theatre. It wasn’t until I joined the staff at Arizona Theatre Company in March of 2017 that I experienced my first production. Ring of Fire was absolutely amazing. I loved that the artists not only acted, but they played instruments and sang. I couldn’t sit still in my seat!! With the 17/18 season being my first full season here at ATC, I thought all of the productions were wonderful, but my favorite was Outside Mullingar. I was blown away when it rained on stage! I also had the privilege of sitting in the Stage Manager’s booth with the Production Stage Manager, Glenn Bruner, and seeing all the technical work behind The Diary of Anne Frank. Talk about eye opening! I had no idea that the lights and sound effects were actually handled from the sound and lighting booths. I feel blessed to work in this atmosphere and with all the wonderful people involved.

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