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Behind-the-Scenes Students Vital to FSU's “Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending”

Behind-the-Scenes Students Vital to FSU's “Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending”
Rachel Saylor fits a mask on Sara Danley (Juliet) while Eric Brown (cheerleader) waits in the FSU production of “Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending,” with performances Thursday through Saturday, April 23-25.

When the lights come up, the show must go on.

The Frostburg State University Theatre students who work behind the scenes are essential in making any stage production possible. As plays and musicals gear up, designers for lights, sound, seating and costumes all pitch in to stage shows through the FSU Theatre Technology Program. During a recent visit to the Costume Shop, students gave a sneak peek on what they love about bringing out details to fit each character.

It’s really fun because you get to see how the show could look until you have your vision or what it really should look like,” said Rachel Saylor of Davidsville, Pa. The freshman theatre major added that she wants to continue with working with costumes after she graduates or become a scenographer – a person in charge of scene, costume, lighting and sound design.

Saylor added she is glad she came to FSU.

“The small, intimate atmosphere really drew me into Frostburg, knowing I would get one-on-one and personal relationships with my professors,” she said. “Knowing that I wasn’t going to be a number, and that I would actually have a name for myself in this department was really a big deal for me coming to this school.”

Theatre students have some tricky problems to solve when it comes to “Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending.” Each audience votes on the progression of the story. The play’s run concludes with 7:30 p.m. shows Thursday through Saturday, April 23 to 25, in the FSU Performing Arts Center.

Watch a video about this program here.

“Because it’s a choose-your-own-ending show, there are various possibilities that the audience can vote on which way the show goes,” said Jennifer Clark, costume shop supervisor. “So the designers had to be prepared for those possibilities. For instance, the lighting designer and sound designer had to do extra cues, extra work and extra design in case this vote happens this way.

“And costumes had to make sure there was a costume for a specific person that may or may not happen depending on how the vote goes. It was a little bit of extra work but it proved to be interesting to see how everybody’s minds work as they worked to develop the designs.”

The Costume Shop students said they loved being challenged to create stunning, yet practical, pieces.

“I realize the costume sort of helps the character become the character, or the actor become the character,” said Apryl Wilson, an English major and theatre minor from La Plata. “It helps me understand the dynamic between the actor and the costumes.”

“I’m all about problem solving and trial and error because then you really get it to be perfect and how it should look,” Saylor added.

Becoming a professional in the theatre business requires more than learning from a book.

“Without this hands-on experience, they can’t go forward in other jobs or grad school or whatever it may be. Theatre is definitely a hands-on major. It’s not really a book-learning major,” Clark said. “Yes, we have basic script analysis and all that stuff where we actually read and develop all those skills. However, it’s the hands-on working with equipment, working with fabrics, working with tools, whatever it may be, under the guidance of the other designers and faculty that they can actually grow and take their knowledge elsewhere.”

When the actors finally take the stage, these behind-the-scenes workers have tremendous pride.

“I feel like this is how Jen feels like every day,” Wilson said. “She gets to see her work on stage and in person. It’s like a mother seeing her child, I guess. I get to be a part of that and get to experience that to a certain extent.”

Tickets are $6 for students and children and $12 for adults and are available through the FSU box office or by calling 301-687-7462, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.


For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589