Backstage trust

Hello blog readers! I'm Alex Koszewski, junior theatre major and art minor who grew up in both Kentucky and Iowa. I am the Production Stage Manager (PSM), Playwright for Stiff, and part of the Web team. As others have said before me, this experience has been very new and exciting. While I would like to say that everything has just been going hunky-dory, there have been various challenges along the way. Being part of something new requires new foundations and trust that those foundations will work. I'm not sure if it's my position as PSM that I have a wide look on things but over the past week and a half, we have really begun to trust each other as a company.

As PSM, it has fallen to me to run the light board. I get the best view in the house.

As PSM, it has fallen to me to run the light board. I get the best view in the house.

I know, that just got very deep and/or cliche. I'm not trying to sound sappy but we really have grown to trust each other as a group. Taking from my own experience, this is the first time I have ever written a play. However, after a long two days here Stiff was written and chosen to be performed in our 10-minute play celebration. Watching my words come to life has been one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking experiences I have ever had being involved in theatre. Exhilarating because you watch the world that was originally in your head come to life and nerve-wracking because you want everything to work and have the same meaning as when you were writing it.

Kirsten O'Donnell and Daniel Vinitsky in Stiff.

Kirsten O'Donnell and Daniel Vinitsky in Stiff.

This is where the trust comes in. Kayleigh Kitzman is the director and Daniel Vinitsky and Kirsten O'Donnell are the actors for Stiff. It has been difficult not being the overbearing parent of my script, but I had to trust Kayleigh, Daniel, and Kirsten to do a good job. Granted, in the beginning there was a lot of trial and error. One day I had to sit down with Kayleigh and Daniel (Kirsten was visiting schools) and simply ask "How does this sound?" "Can you see yourself saying this?" Tonight was the first time that I saw Stiff in about 3 days and I can no longer say it's my play. With help from some professional adults, Kayleigh, Daniel and Kirsten have created a relationship on stage in ways that black ink on white paper could never describe. It has become our play. It may be my words, but Daniel's and Kirsten's emotions and own interpretations have created a new show that is entirely unique to them. It has been fascinating to watch and on a personal note, I'm grateful for all of the hard work that they have put into it. 

Our company meeting today.

Our company meeting today.

Like my part as a playwright, everyone's work is no longer defined by just their individual roles that they have taken on as part of this company. Thresholds is our production as a company. Every day since we arrived at Bjorklunden, we have had company meetings. This is where everyone gets updated on everything: from marketing, to outreach, to rehearsal schedules. Various issues have arisen where as a company we needed to find solutions and people needed to step forward to head certain divisions. Yet whenever anyone said that they would get something done, no matter what division they fell into, 2 or 3 other people would always volunteer to help and whatever job that needed to get done, got done. The trust from that tiny example was expanded where we really did come to trust each other to do our best and to support each other so that we are the best company that we can be.

At this moment in time I am currently sitting in the Great Room in Bjorklunden watching some people take rest on the couches next to the fire while a large group plays "Taboo" at one of the tables. Tomorrow, we have our first show. It's amazing and humbling to think that over the past week and a half, we have created our own unique name, mission, and plays. We have handed out flyers, reached out to the community through schools and caroling, and marketed through various media. Every person in this room plays a unique role in our company. A director who also helped write a press release. An economics and government major who was introduced to the world of theatre. An actor that designed our Greyfell logo and 2 other actors who took that logo and designed our website. A group of students who created a theatre company. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are Greyfell Theatre Company.