SENIOR ENTERS A NEW “STAGE” AS AN INTERN AT A PHILADELPHIA-AREA THEATER COMPANY
Emily Taber ’07 has been in the spotlight—as a high school student in Arlington, Mass., she appeared in several plays. But she also discovered a talent for behind-the-scenes artistry as a stage manager and set constructor for the school musicals.
Taber’s backstage background comes in handy at People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pa., where she currently interns courtesy of the Hurford Humanities Center. Each month, Taber dabbles in a different department at the 31-year-old theater, which, unlike other area performance venues, runs shows throughout the summer.
In June, Taber worked in production, assisting the properties manager with finding and assembling props for People’s Light’s current production of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. “I can point to specific things on the set,” she says, “and think, ‘I’m responsible for that.’” A pivotal scene, for instance, involves a bowl of apples, each with a bite missing; Taber carved those apples out of foam.
She’s presently assigned to the education department, helping out with the theater’s Summerstage program for children in fourth through eighth grades. Taber is involved in staff training and brainstorming lesson plans that follow this year’s theme of “myths;” at the end of the summer, students will write and perform the story of an original myth. Taber also sits in on sample classes.
She’s impressed by the theater’s devotion to education. “Twenty percent of its budget goes towards Summerstage and the Family Series,” she says, “as well as Project Discovery, which brings high school students to see shows.” People’s Light also sends teachers to area schools that don’t have drama or arts programs.
In August, Taber will join the dramaturgy office, and will help the resident dramaturg prepare for the first two shows of the 2006-2007 season: Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid and Willy Holtzman’s Something You Did, a new work about a woman jailed for a protest-related bombing in the 1970s who comes up for parole. “The play examines the role of radical ‘70s activism in today’s world,” says Taber, who will draw up a timeline of events so the actors can distinguish between flashbacks and present-day occurrences.
“This internship has been challenging because I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Taber, an English major with a Spanish minor who is considering various career paths. “This experience has been rewarding, but a return to the theater may be something I’ll save for later.”
— Brenna McBride