PAC not a “theater”

Alex Muegge, Editor-in-Chief

The new theater should not be called a theater.

The title of “theater” implies that the venue can comfortably house dramatic performances, which is not the case.

Band’s new performing arts center does not having dressing rooms.

Easily accessible dressing rooms are necessary for theater because they enable the cast to achieve quick costume changes during performances.

In last year’s production of Stage Door, Noah Gower played two characters: Lou Milhauser and Larry Westcott.

He had three scenes; one as Milhauser, one as Westcott, and his final as Milhauser again.

There was plenty of time for him to change between his first and second scene, yet the window between his second and third was much smaller.

Early in rehearsals he discovered he was not going to be able to take off one sweater vest and a pair of slacks and put on a three-piece suit by himself in the chunk of time given.

Soon enough we were a tag team where my job was to fix his hair, put on his jacket and make sure he had his prop cigars in his pocket.

He barely met his cue each night.

While we got into costume in the dressing rooms prior to showtime, all of Gower’s costume management occurred backstage during the show.

The new performing arts center has a backstage, and after a short tour of the facility, I learned there are quite spacious band classrooms a hallway’s walk from the backstage area.

A room is a room.

There is the argument that the band classrooms could not be used as dressing rooms because they lack full body mirrors for costume checking.

This is a small fix.

Mirrors could be in the budget of a million-dollar spending school district and, if not, they can unscrew the mirrors from the existing dressing rooms and insert them into the walls of the new classrooms.

Band may not want the mirrors screwed into their newly constructed and painted walls so even leaning them up against it will do.

Drama could perform in the new performing arts center.

It has the space and resources needed to do so.

In fact, the first show the drama department puts on they sit down the entire time and there are no entrances and exits on foot.

In February, the company of a San Francisco Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet is coming here to perform an shortened-to-one-hour version of the tragedy.

The actors are performing the entire thing without costume changes and set designs, all the actors need is a performance space.

Realistically, this probably would not happen with a smaller, not-yet-professional high school cast performing a different show than Romeo and Juliet in the winter, but the seed is planted that it is possible.

Lighting would also not be an issue.

For the reader’s theater performance in the black box, spotlights are set up prior to the show and are not moved during performance, the new performing arts center has the same set-up.

As an added bonus, it does have two slots located behind the audience for spotlights that can swivel if mounted on a tripod.

There are emotional ties to the current black box theater drama is using. It was revamped after the previous theater burned down. Betty Miller, the black box’s namesake, oversaw construction of what was then the new venue.

The sentimental value is important, but why not share custody of the performances?

One show a year could be done in the performing arts center and the other two in the black box.

We have this $11.9m new space, we should explore it.

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