Thursday, May 31, 2012


As the weather turns warmer, and June leans over May, my thoughts turn to SRJC's Summer Repertory Theatre.  Even though I haven't seen any of their plays in a couple of years (due to being immersed in dog agility and life-as-a-retired-person), memories flood back.  They always have, and always will.

Do you often think back to your summer camp days?  I never went to camp as a child, so SRT is my summer camp, of sorts.  Even after I became a JC theatre instructor, and Theatre Arts production manager during the school year, I answered the siren call of SRT.   From 1989 through 2009, with a few years off here, and a couple of years off there, summertime was all about SRT!  Theatre gets in the blood.  SRT, in particular, can get in the blood.  You dog agility people know what I'm talking about.  Like....the Power Paws workshops/camps?    Like....the Regionals, or the Nationals?

Every year, a new SRT company of about 200 people would meet in the Burbank Theatre during the last week of May.  Those of us on the staff would have already met several times, to plot our season of six plays, by the time the "kids" showed up.  Our "kids" were mostly college-age....which means anywhere from seventeen to seventy....and they were always pretty shiny at the beginning of the season.  During the summer the company would build and rehearse, six days a week, in order to put up six plays, all in rotation at three different theatres located on and near the JC campus.  Our production standards were HIGH...we wanted to compete with the Best of the Best.  Having seen a number of productions in the big San Francisco equity theatres, I can safely say that our scenery, costumes and acting  easily compared.  (At least, they used to.  Since I haven't seen any plays lately, so I don't know how things are today.) 

But, back in the day....

This is just one page of an old Company Program.
My first year at SRT was spent working in the costume shop....

...sewing costumes. (Hard to believe!) 
But mostly I worked as a dresser, which meant
I spent a lot of time backstage,
watching actors be silly.  :-)

Back then, SRT rented a warehouse/hangar out at the old
Army airstrip.  Years-worth of sets, props and costumes were stored there.
We'd venture into that creaky 3-story
building well-armed with flashlights and friends.
The costumes, of course, were on the third floor (with the owls).
"First Company Meeting" - one of many.

When you work in theatre, you learn the fine art of
"Hurry Up and Wait."
A good thing to know, when you get into dog agility.

(Can you tell the play wasn't ready for this dress rehearsal?)

You make a lot of life-long friends....

.....and you do things you never EVER thought you would do.


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