Blogger: Becca Patch
Hello everyone! My name is Becca Patch and I’m a junior Cognitive Science/Theater double major here at Oxy. Last Friday, Oxy’s campus was flooded with students…. Wearing black and white clothes and large wigs. Not Admitted Student’s Day—the opening night of Hairspray!
Oxy’s Theater department puts on a large musical every two years. When I was a first-year, we did The Seven, a hip-hop musical about the sons of Oedipus and we hired Will Power, the writer-director, from NYC. That was a very neat experience, but no one ever really thinks “Oh, I think my life is missing some Oedipus hip-hop. Better get that in on Friday night.”
This year, Oxy went a little more mainstream with our production of Hairspray! The cast features nearly 40 student actors and many students are working backstage, as well. The show is directed by Professor Emeritus, Alan Freeman, but many of the other positions were held by students, including: stage manager, assistant stage manager, costume designer, assistant lighting designer, make-up designer, prop master, light board operator, sound mixing, spotlight operators, and backstage rigging crew. Much of the set was also built/painted by students as well!
If you have any interest in getting involved in theater (as a major/non-major), Oxy might be the place for you. I was a Cognitive Science major who did theater as a hobby until this year, when I realized I was doing so much “hobby” theater; I might as well just double major!
I’m the Prop Master for Hairspray, which means that pretty much anything onstage that isn’t a large piece of scenery or a costume piece was made by me! It was very stressful, because sometimes the show needed to add or change additional props with only a few days left until opening, but it was also super rewarding, because I got to go see the show on Opening Night and see everything I’d made!
Making the props involved a lot of late nights and trying to be creative (here are some of the protest rally signs I made, which appear in the show, as well as some small mice—a prop that was cut just before we opened).
All in all, this group of actors and technicians has been one of my favorites to work with ever! A huge show like this one is very stressful, but one of my favorite moments was leaving the theater at 1:00am with my techie friends, leaning on each other, and knowing we could get through it. There was so much student leadership and work to put this show together—I’m so proud of it!
This last picture is of my friends Jake, Declan, and Lily starring in Hairspray! as Edna Turnblad, Mr. Spritzer, and Tracy Turnblad, respectively. Photo by Marc Campos!