Fountains, boats, and clowns too

Yaamini Venkataraman

Alumni Alex Martin and Brian Miller return to lend a hand to this year’s fall production of "A Servant of Two Masters"

 

Some people think of high school as a stepping stone between childhood and adulthood. They reminisce about their experiences, and thank their lucky stars when it’s all over.

 


But others like to come back.

With a long list of work to do for this year’s production of "A Servant of Two Masters", the Drama instructor Holly Cornelison was stressed out until 2009 alumnus Brian Miller came to visit. Cornelison couldn’t figure out a way to manage rehearsals and look over set-building at the same time. Out of curiosity, Miller asked Cornelison if she needed help, to which she gave the long time drama student an assistant director position.

It’s one thing to act, but another to direct. Every day after school, Miller leads the students in rehearsal, making sure the proper emotions are evoked and their stage movements are correct. He focuses on the details, like turning one’s head downstage, so the skits would seem like comedic parodies of real life. 

"I’m working with the clown characters and I’m creating little skits for them and giving them movement," Miller said. "We duplicated the characters and gave extra people who auditioned parts and made them clown characters."

Details are also the focus of 2009 alumnus Alex Martin. Also a long-time drama student, he initially credits the returning alumni to the fact that "we’re idiots"; however, colleges do not always have good theater courses. While he searches for a job, he is using his time constructively by helping design and build the set.


"I’ve designed two different portions of the set. [The current students] had two bits they didn’t know how to design. They have a fountain that works, and this boat that’s spring-loaded and on rails," Martin said. "We’re teaching things we’ve never had a chance to teach."

Aside from teaching how exactly to build certain components of the set, Martin makes sure the intricacies of construction are perfect as well. 

"We tend to get into bad habits. Like one thing is done a certain way and its usually not the best way. In the old sets, we never usually predrilled things, we just sort of tape it together," Martin said.

The long hours put in by the alumni were not in vain. Sophomore Rotem Landesman believed that the alumni have, "a lot of devotion to the Drama Department".

The devotion paid off. Though strict at times, Miller makes sure his clowns are always on task and has earned the respect of the actors who call him, "the best cop". Martin can always be found at the drill press or working with a gadget of some sort, unwilling to do anything else unless absolutely necessary. With dedication like their’s, it’s no wonder this year’s fall production is a servant of two masters.