Category: The Company


The History of Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre

            Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre’s history is one that has had a lack of an archive in the past. From what we current students know, it began a long time ago and it used to do close to thirty shows a semester. For many of us, that was the extent of our knowledge of the history of Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. The people working at PDST became very interested in where we came from, what we used to be like, and what we’ve become. In order to do so, it took some digging from many staff members to unearth some of this information. Our first bit of information came from a PDST archival document. This document contains the shows PDST has done since the fall of 1984 where, according to this document, the first production in PDST was “Guernica” by Arrabel, directed by David Golden. The archival document takes us up to our most recent production of Reefer Madness. To fill in some of the gaps, PDST staff members sat down with Denise Myers, a performance faculty member at Millikin since ’91 and Millikin’s very own, Mary Spencer, Administrative Assistant of the Department of Theatre and Dance who has been here since 1989. Both have extensive knowledge of Millikin’s history.

                Denise’s knowledge of PDST begins with Dr. David Golden who was the chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the time, also the director of what we know to be as the first PDST show. He was also the creator of the Theatre and Dance department here at Millikin. When Denise first got to Millikin there were was she remembers to be close to seventy majors inin  in the theatre department, today there are hundreds of them that earn degrees from Millikin. Dr. Golden had set up a space called Pipe Dreams as a place for people to practice their craft. Most of the plays that went on in Pipe Dreams were Directing II students who were required by their Directing II class to direct a short, one-act play in Pipe Dreams.   Each one act had the time limit of twenty minutes. When Denise first arrived at Millikin, her task was to help these Directing II students get royalties for their shows and get scripts. Students would give Denise the information for their show and she would write to the company requesting rights. Each student had $50 with which to purchase their rights. Sometimes there were two directing classes a semester so lots of ofofplays would go up in the space each semester. All BFA students i  n the department were required to go and either went at 1 1am or 9:30pm that night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That time slot lasted up until 2010 when Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre became a student run company and changed the times to weekend performances. So for at least twenty years PDST performances occurred at those times. In order to get credit for going students would sign the programs they received at the show then turn them into faculty as proof that they had seen the PD performances. Denise remembers a lot of interesting things being done in the space and things she quite enjoyed. With so many productions going up because of the requirement that Directing II had though, all the productions varied in quality. At this time as well, all freshman performance majors were required to audition for all the Pipe Dreams shows. So freshman at this time were auditioning for close to twenty different productions during a semester Denise recalls. Denise says, “That is what alumni repeatedly tell me was one of the most valuable things. Even though they hated it at the time, to have to go to that many auditions helped.” One thing both Denise and Mary commented on was the quality of the shows that were going up in the space. Though Pipe Dreams were producing close to thirty productions a semester, they were not all fantastic shows. “In retrospect, a lot of those plays were not very good because students didn’t care. It was like ‘Okay I have to do this for the class I don’t care about Directing or whatever I just need the credit,’ so not all of the productions were very good,” Denise remembers. Some of them though she also remembers as being excellent. She said a few students even went above and beyond the curriculum and received special permission to do full length plays. Those would become sort of side projects. This was the same time in Pipe Dreams career that Millikin had a Directing major so a lot of Directing majors used Pipe Dreams as a space to perform their projects.  PSDST saw its last Directing major put up his work in the fall of 2009 with the play Snuff that he also wrote, based off the book of the same title. TThat Denise remembers being a bit problematic about Pipe Dreams was it was also a classroom at the time in Mueller Hall, a building that no longer exists on the Millikin campus. It once stood where the Quad is today. Denise would have class at 12:30pm in Pipe Dreams so shows that went up at 11am had to perform and strike the space completely so the space could be used as a classroom in the next hour. One could imagine h how busy the space was. When Pipe Dreams was in Mueller all it was a space not quite as big as the dance studio that currently is in Millikin’s Old Gym on campus. The “old folk,” as Denise said got to sit on chairs and watch the performances but students typically sat on the floor. Staging could take place anywhere on the floor and people would just sit around it. The space was a black box but Denise remembers one day in particular where she came into class and the entire space had been painted white. The walls, the floor, everything. “The play was taking place in a grocery store and the white paint looked really cool in the space but I had class in there at 9am and no one knew they had planned to paint. The paint wasn’t dry when I came into class at 9am so I couldn’t really have class in here. We had a lot of shuffling that day. It looked way cool but again no one was following any sorts of procedures to share the space,” Denise says. From that day came rules about how to use the space, what you could and could not do, etc. It wasn’t long though until that space would no longer be available to theatre students for their projects on the Millikin campus.

                As mentioned, Pipe Dreams was in the building formally known as Muller Hall. “We were constantly applying band-aid to keep the space functionable,” Denise say. Part of the building was for the theatre department then the other half was for artists focusing on pottery and they had kilns and pottery sculptures and a welding station as well. Muller was pretty much all brick and just not built for that type of use it was getting.  Some of the trustees decided that that was just too dangerous and two days before classes were going to start Muller was shut down. “Any students that were around, the faculty, we were packing up boxes, and moving our things out of Muller…If you know where the current dressing rooms of Albert Taylor are that’s where our offices were moved,” Denise recalls. With the loss Muller Hall they lost the Pipe Dreams space. At this same point in time Albert Taylor, Millikin’s other theatre, was also closed because the ceiling was being worked on because of recent leaks. A few spaces around Millikin were converted to theatre classrooms si  nce the department no longer had many of their spaces with Muller Hall being closed as well as Albert Taylor. This is the time that the space known as Aston Dance became a space for the Theatre Department to use. Previously it was the lounge for the ladies who lived in Aston. “For about a week we were everywhere,” Denise says. Where Pipe Dreams is now was known as the Red Couch. Before that it was a restaurant called the Blue Mill. Blue Mill was a popular and well established restaurant in Decatur and when it was torn down for reasons we are not sure of, it was found that there was an Indian b urial ground beneath it. Regardless of the burial ground, a new building was built and where Pipe Dreams currently stands today. It was a coffee bar called the Red Couch. Th ere would be bands that would play and you could come get salad and a coffee and drinks at night. It was one of the few places in town you could go and get a latte in Decatur. The concept of the Red Couch just never took off so they went out of business and the space was left empty. So when the Theatre Department was kicked out of Muller Hall they had to find someplace to put up the season of plays they needed to do.  They rented that space for the purpose of putting up plays while Albert Taylor was undergoing work. “We had to move our first show of the semester back a week but all of our design team got together and converted that space into a theatrical space. They decided what curtains they would buy, where they were going to put the curtain rods, where they were going to build the booth. If you look at one of the walls in Pipe Dreams currently, you’ll see a wall of just sockets and that’s because that’s where the bar was in the Red Couch.”  The space was literally being converted as they were rehearsing for a show called And They Dance Real Slow In Jackson in the space and utilizing it for the department. We looked on the Millikin website to see when that show was produced and it was in 2004. From this information we can deduct that roughly, Pipe Dreams has been in its current space since 2004. Denise remembers doing Much Ado About Nothing that season in Pipe Dreams. It was supposed to go up in Albert Taylor but even today, she can’t imagine  it in any other space besides Pipe Dreams. It wasn’t till two or three years after they were in the space that dressing rooms were built for Pipe Dream’s use.  Soon enough, Pipe Dreams would become the company it is known as today.

In roughly 2008, Millikin stopped accepting Directing majors because they felt it was not an appropriate undergrad major. Directing II only came to be about once a year because there were fewer directing majors that were required to take it. Even though Directing II wasn’t offered as much and we no longer had incoming Directing majors, people still wanted to produce things in Pipe Dreams so Denise became the coordinator of Pipe Dreams, finding the times the shows submitted could be performed at. It. was at this time that there was a shift in Pipe Dreams where students began producing work in Pipe Dreams, not because it was a requirement, but because something in their education or life inspired them to put up a production and Pipe Dreams was the place to achieve that. Denise thinks the quality of work went up with this shift in Pipe Dreams no longer being something required, because now people weren’t just putting up things because they had to, but because they wanted to. Students would submit their work to Denise and she would assign schedules and organized everything about a Pipe Dreams show. Denise had a very organized system of how shows went up in Pipe Dreams by setting up check points, such as submitting program information, meeting with the TD for technical needs and safety clearance, etc, that students would have to complete in order to move on with producing their production. If these check points didn’t occur, that Pipe Dreams show would be shut down. Students began to feel like they didn’t have enough time or the rules were too strict and they became angry with the system of Pipe Dreams even though it was the students who didn’t abide by the rules they had agreed to. These issues came about in roughly 2008 or so, right before Pipe Dreams was handed over to the students. When it became a large issue with students not wanting to follow the rules Denise had laid out for Pipe Dreams, Laura Ledford, faculty at the time, decided to make it student-run, a vision many of the students fo und to be very appealing as a learning process as well. So in the spring of 2010, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre had its first semester as a student run company. In that semester a new charter was created to lead the newly student run company to glory. A few students, Erika Davidson, Joel Kim Booster, Scott Dibbler, and others, all worked with several faculty members the summer before to imagine what this new company could become. In the fall of 2010 PDST established its Pipe Dreams series and its 21st Century Work Series. In the spring of 2011, PDST had its first fully produced work with the original work titled Affinity, written by Alex Scholinsky. In the fall of 2011, PDST has its first fully produced season which, co ntinued on in the spring of 2012 where we find ourselves today. Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre has had a long and interesting history. Even though there are still gaps to our story, we look forward to discovering more about our past and continuing to create a new history for Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre.

 

 

See you next semester for more blog posts! Until next time…

Jane Davis

Special thanks to Mary Spencer and Denise Myers for their information they gave us. 

This week we got the opportunity to sit down and talk with Maegan Passafume, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre’s Production Manager. Check out what she had to say! Next week’s blog post? The never before heard HISTORY OF PDST!

Q: Tell us about your history with PDST.
My history of working with PDST is actually somewhat limited. I always came to see shows, and I did some last-minute work on Matt Miller’s “Titus Andronicus” JMS Project, but since I had a pretty light senior year I decided that I finally had the time to explore something outside of stage management, and applied for PDST’s Production Manager position.

Q: What made you want to become Production Manager?
It was something new! I had a pretty good handle on what stage management was, and I wanted to explore other sides of the management field.

Q: What excites you about a student-run company?
Being able to actually take a crack at running your own company; so many people don’t get to do that before going out into the real world. Also being able to claim a production as totally yours, and not something you did as part of the theatre department.

Q:  What do your duties include? What are the challenges? What are the rewards?
I manage a team of 5, including a technical director and a master electrician. Most of my job is delegation to this team, but I’m also in charge of putting together the season calendar, scheduling rentals and workshops, and making sure PDST productions are using their budgets wisely. Watching budgets is the biggest challenge for me–I’ve never had a head for numbers. The biggest reward is seeing the production team work like a well-oiled machine; everyone in sync, on the same artistic page, and getting along.

Q: What did you learn from being production manager?
…That I don’t want a career as a production manager. It’s been a really great learning experience, the people are amazing, but it’s just not where my strengths lie. But I gave it a shot, even though I didn’t totally know what it was about, and I’m proud of myself for that.

Q: What do you want to do after Millikin that PDST is helping you with?
PDST has really helped me develop my leadership skills. It’s a skill that every successful stage manager needs, and this gave me a chance to really hone that ability.

Q: What’s your favorite show at PDST you’ve seen?
Either “Titus Andronicus” or “Reefer Madness.” I really can’t pick between the two, but they were both pretty sweet.

Q: What do you want to see PDST become?
Totally self-reliant. We still depend on the department for things, and I would love to see it come into its own as a company.

The Madness Never Ends

This past weekend Reefer Madness opened to the Decatur community and people LOVED IT! Did you get the chance to see it? Here’s all the tweets we got about how awesome we’re doing. Then some production photos to prove how good the show looked. It’s just like you were there if you missed it!

-OH SO MAD!!! #ReeferMadness #midnight #soldout #peeingmyself@PDTheatre

 -Loving the sounds that I am hearing coming @PDTheatre#ReeferMadness
-That was the best show I’ve ever SEEN. #ReeferMadness@PDTheatre
-What an awesome show. The MADNESS has begun to spread. Get your ticket NOW before they all disappear?http://www.pipedreams.ticketleap.com @PDTheatre
-Started today with a wonderful performance of #reefermadness by@PDTheatre! Congrats to all involved! Now can I go back to sleep?
@PDTheatre REEFER MADNESS today at 2pm and 8pm! Get. Your. Tickets. NOW! #reefermadness
-Word on the street #ReeferMadness is the best show most people have seen at Millikin. And only $5 for students?You’re welcome.
-Clogging your twitter feed with #ReeferMadness. You’re welcome.
-Let the REEFER MADNESS begin at @PDTheatre tonight!!!#soexcited
-Um. @PDTheatre ‘s Reefer Madness is a hit, ya’ll #soldout #round2
-That awkward moment when you sell out three nights in a row@PDTheatre
-Congrats to the cast of #ReeferMadness The best show I have ever seen in @PDTheatre #somuchtalent
-4/5 performance of #ReeferMadness were SOLD OUT. Thanks to all who came!
 
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Reefer MADNESS

Thursday at 11:59p PDST opens it’s first midnight performance of a musical to a SOLD OUT audience. Here’s some things to get you in the mood on your Thursday.

 

Get your tickets for the rest of the performances at pipedreams.ticketleap.com

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Reefer Madness!

Reefer Madness is a well-known 1936 American propaganda exploitation film that revolves around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured to try marijuana. Marijuana leads the high school kids to a hit and run accident to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, and the “descent into madness.” The film was originally financed by a church group that was to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them the dangers of the drug. After the film was finished it was purchased by a new producer who re-cut the film for distribution on the exploitation film circuit. The film didn’t gain an audience though until it was rediscovered in the 1970’s and gained new life as a piece of unintentional comedy. Today it’s a public domain in the United States and has become quite the cult film.

In 2001 it was turned into a musical satire which premiered off-Broadway. In 2005 in was turned into a movie-musical. The movie musical starred Kristen Bell, Christian and Neve Campbell, and Alan Cumming. This film tells the tale of the Harper Affair, in which young Jimmy Harper finds his life of promise turn into a life of debauchery and murder thanks to the new drug menace marijuana. Along the way he receives help from his girlfriend Mary and Jesus himself, but always finds himself in the arms of the Reefer Man and the rest of the denizens of the Reefer Den.

            Excited yet for Reefer Madness? Here’s the cast of Millikin students who will be performing in our production!

Lecturer: Jonathan Smith
Jimmy: Ryan Armstrong
Mary: Jessica Taylor
Mae: Madison Kauffman 
Jack: Justin Ostergard
Ralph: Kyle Bennett
Sally: Emily Padilla
Placard Girl: Anastasia Arnold
Ensemble: Coy Branscum, Emily Briggs, Daniel Jensen, Sarah Beth Odle, Eric Pfaff, Rachel Reininger, Jamie Shriner, Kyle Simonz

The show has performances on April 19th at 11:59pm, Friday April 20th at 8pm, Saturday April 21st at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Buy your tickets today at pipedreams.ticketleap.com.

-Jane Davis

PDST’s Very Own Meme

Today instead of taking time to WRITE a blog post. I drew a meme. What more could you expect? Enjoy.Image

Ink Support

One of Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre’s programs here at Millikin is called Ink Support. Every Wednesday at 3pm for the past two years, new playwrights at Millikin have been able to come and present their new work or old work to actors who bring it to life for the playwrights. It provides the writers of the Millikin campus a place to try out their work and get constructive feedback. As well, it gives the actors of the Millikin campus a place where they can work with new works, new playwrights and practice cold readings. It’s a program that PDST provides that allows for another safe place for our patrons to experiment, play, and explore. Kyle Simonz, a sophomore theatre major, has been going to Ink Support for the last year and a half. Kyle goes to Ink Support because he likes the opportunities that it presents and the people who go to it. “It’s definitely a great opportunity for cold readings. You’re given the scripts right there and you have to make it work on the spot,” Kyle says about Ink. Grace Barnett, another sophomore theatre major, has been going to ink support as an actor for quite a number of months as well. Grace is also PDST’s Artistic Associate and knows quite a bit about Ink Support as a program of PDST. “Ink support is a collaboration of writers and actors who get together and read pieces that new writers have written. This allows the writers to get a feel for what their work sounds like rather than simply how it reads. Its one thing just to write things but it’s another thing to actually hear it read out loud. To then get critiques and feedback that helps their work grow is a great opportunity,” Grace says. Ink Support gives those people who want to write and those people who want to perform another opportunity on campus to do so. Bryson David Hoff is a writer who goes to Ink Support. He has been attending since his freshman year. When asked why Bryson started coming he replied, “I started coming because I was working on a script and I wanted to get some feedback on it. I keep coming because I keep writing and I keep needing feedback on them.” As a writer it’s provided Bryson the ability to work on his scripts in a more effective manner. It’s also given Bryson the opportunity to showcase the work he’s written. Every semester, there is an “Ink Support Night” where the writers and actors who have been coming get the chance to show their work to the community. It’s a free night to see what these students have been working hard on for all semester, sometimes longer. Chloe Day, a senior theatre major at Millikin, started Ink Support in the fall of 2010. Millikin had opportunities for everyone on campus except those interested in playwriting. Chloe saw this gap and filled it with Ink Support. Kaylie Honkala is the current coordinator of Ink Support but has been with the program since its beginning with Chloe Day. “I really think it’s a really awesome program we do here at Millikin. We all come here voluntarily. We care about creating new works. I think one of the best things about it is the fact that since it’s begun we’ve had such an increase in people, “ Kaylie Honkala says. Brittany Brown has been a long standing member of ink support as well. She came in as an actor but recently has developed an interest in writing. “It’s been really cool to see other writers bring things in and see all the ideas that come in.” Ink Support has been one of the most successful and well attended programs at Millikin. Whether you’re a student at Millikin or a community member, stop by Ink Support at 3pm every Wednesday in the basement of Old Gym and sit in on the conversation. Either bring something you’ve written, prepare to do some cold readings, or just sit and observe. The people of Ink Support would be more than happy to have you join!

If you have any questions about Ink Support contact Kaylie Honkala at khonkala@millikin.edu.

-Jane Davis

Happy Wednesday!

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with the Marketing Director of Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, Jaymeson Welker Metz. Jaymeson is a senior Acting major here at Millikin where he’s in constant involvement in campus activities. Luckily, he had a few minutes to sit down with me and talk with me about his position at Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre.

Q: As a performance major, why were you interested in being Marketing Director at Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre?

A: Well, I’ve been at Pipe Dreams since the very beginning of my career at Millikin University. In the past, I’ve really enjoy creating websites. I’ve done them as a kid. I actually had a little Zelda webpage when I was younger, like thirteen or so. So I ran that and had some people who viewed the website and I just really enjoyed doing that. So last semester I worked as web master for PDST and I also created the videos for the shows. For this semester, I just thought that it would be really interesting to reach other people and step up my game. Basically just take the extra step and try and develop skills that I can use in the future to start my own business. But at the bottom of it I just love Pipe Dreams and wanted to help in whatever way I could.

Q: What are some of the challenges of the position?

A: The challenges I think, of any position, is coming in and jumping into the position. I also think the challenge is with marketing to a community that already has many theatrical outlets and trying to offer them something, it’s very different than anything else and making people understand that.

Q: What’s your favorite part about the position?

A: The potential to interact one-on-one with people. I think we haven’t realized that potential because we are scared too but when we do it is a lot of fun because of that one-on-one interaction.

Q: Why should other students on campus get involved in Pipe Dreams?

A: Because we need more marketing help! We need new people. We have a lot of the same people filter in and out of Pipe Dreams and I think new people will help us get the word out. Right now we’re sort of in our own little circle.

Q: You’ve performed in Pipe Dreams, you’ve been the web master, and now you’re the Marketing Director. What are the things you’re going to take away from all your experiences and how are you going to apply that to your later endeavors because you graduate in six weeks!

A: Well, I love Pipe Dreams. As a performer I’ll take away all the different ways we’ve done shows in Pipe Dreams. Sometimes they’re minimalistic, sometimes they’re experimental, they’ve been original, and they’ve been non-original. As a Marketing Director I think it will help me as my own business where I think I understand how to reach out to potential clients which would be our patrons. The real world experience of it too, how there’s nothing really to fall back on. It’s not like I have this thing where if it falls through, whatever I’m still going to survive. But it’s the experience of the class where we make money and if we don’t we have to face consequences and cut backs so the stakes are much higher. It’s also just a lot of fun. I started out doing something I loved and I felt really good about it and then I moved on to something that was a bit more challenging and I moved on and I learned thing I really like and things I didn’t like. Simply put, it was a great learning experience.

Q: Season submission ends this Friday for Pipe Dreams, what show would you most like to see put up in Pipe Dreams? Assume no budget and a casting pool of the entire world.

A: The Fantasticks. Someone threw that out once and that’s my favorite show.

If you have any further questions for Jaymeson contact him at jmetz@millikin.edu. Since Jaymeson is graduating, you could be PDST’s new Marketing Director! Pipe Dreams is now Interviewing for the Artistic Team! Interviews are currently being scheduled. Interview times are as follows: Wednesday, 3/28 10:00a-12:00p and 3:00p-5:00p Thursday, 3/29 2:00p-3:00p. To schedule an interview, please submit your interview form and resume along with your availability during those time frames to me via email at sbubenik@millikin.edu no later than 5p on Monday.

If you are interested in taking the Pipe Dreams class but, aren’t sure if you are ready for artistic team, please come to one of our info sessions Thursday, 3/22 at 3:30p in Shilling 319 or email sbubenik@millikin.edu. There are also plenty of staff positions to be had.

-Jane Davis

Nick Throop is a sophomore BFA Theatre Administration major from Springfield, Illinois who has been involved with PDST since the first day he got to Millikin. I firmly believe he’ll be here till the day he graduates as well. This semester Nick is Managing Director of PDST.  I got the opportunity this week to have an email conversation with him (he’s a busy guy) about his experience with PDST and why he thinks it’s such a great company.

 

Q: Tell us about your history with PDST?
A: My first semester at Millikin I worked as a volunteer usher with PDST. I loved the opportunities that my friends were getting and wanted to get more involved. I joined on as a staff member in my spring semester and served as the head house manager for our spring 2011 season. I interviewed that spring with the advisory board and was hired the following fall as the company’s production manager. I currently am hired on a year-long contract as the managing director.

Q: You’ve been involved in PDST since your freshman year, why stick around?
A: I love the opportunities that PDST provides the students with. I can say that I’ve run a theatre company before I was 20. That’s pretty exciting, and it’s definitely a resume booster. people are always excited and intrigued by the concept of PDST. Now that we’re successfully producing there’s a great sense of pride that has kept me around. I love this company. I’ve invested so much into it, and I don’t think I could ever truly be removed from it.

Q: What excites you about a student run company?
A: Like I said, I love that I have had real life managerial experience before hitting age 20. I’ve learned a lot of skills by trial and error that will save me trouble in the future workplace. The hands on ‘lab’ experience that I get with PDST is something you can’t teach. You have to do it. You have to make mistakes to figure out what works. But once you figure out what works, it’s magic. Seeing such great success with rabbit hole gives me great pride. This past weekend was one of the most exciting parts of running this company: the success we’re now achieving.

Q: Why did you interview to be managing director? What do your duties include? What are the challenges? What are the rewards?
I wanted to try my hand at managing director because it was an opportunity to bring the dreams and goals I have for the company to fruition. Traditionally, the managing director is the one who leads the company. I wanted to be able to lead the company towards a strong future. I’ve seen 3 different levels of PDST. I joined when we were a rental house, encouraged full producing, and facilitated our first produced season. I want to lead us towards progress, and I definitely think we’re on the right path. 

My duties primarily revolve around the financial aspect of the company. I develop a budget for the season and work with the production manager to manage expenses on each production. I’ve also taken a strong hold on big fundraising projects like our technical overhaul. The challenges are pretty consistent with any position in the company. This is a full time job that we’re doing in 10 hours (ish) a week, plus 15-18 credit hours as a student. It’s a lot, so finding time to get everything done is always difficult.

The rewards come in moments like this past weekend: producing a great show that is well attended and well received. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m like a proud papa!! 🙂

Q: What’s your future with PDST look like?
A: Well it’s a little up in the air now. I’m definitely taking some time off next year. I’ll have two stage management assignments on the main stage, and I want to make sure I’m fully devoted to whatever project I’m hired on to. If I leave for a spell next year, I’ll certainly be back. I’ve put too much into this company to completely remove myself from it. I’m excited to see what others can do with the company. I’ve had my turn 🙂

Q: What do you want to do after Millikin that PDST is helping you with?
A: When I joined the bfa theatre administration program I had no idea what I wanted to do. At first I thought finance was nowhere in my horizon (I’m horrible at math), but look what I’m doing now! 🙂 I know that directing is something I’m interested and passionate about, and PDST definitely offers those opportunities to students. Stage management is something I’m passionate about as well, and having any type of managerial experience is a great way to hone in your skills.

When I was production manager in PDST, I was also the assistant production manager for the department of theatre and dance. I’ve learned that this field is something I’m really interested in and passionate about. I wouldn’t be looking for jobs in production management if I didn’t have the experience in PDST. 

Q: Give us a sneak peek at Reefer Madness. What’s your role with the show?
A: Reefer Madness is going to be amazeballs. I’m the music director on this show, and I can guarantee that you will be entertained, freaked out, and leave the theatre humming the songs all night. We’ve got 16 fantastic performers. The dances are more than you’re expecting (I promise you that). The voices will surround you, entice you, and certainly impress you (we don’t play games. we’re legit). And the staging is quite unique. We’re doing a unique stage setup that utilizes the space in ways you may not have seen before.

Oh, and our opening night is Thursday April 19 at 11:59pm. That’s right. A midnight show beginning the 4-20 ‘holiday’ *please note: PDST does not support or encourage illegal drug use. At all. We don’t break the law.* but for those who do, we have an awesome show about marihuana propaganda that you should totally check out. Visit www.pipedreams.ticketleap.com for tickets to our midnight show!!

Q: What do you want to see PDST become?
A: I want people to be proud to list a pipe dreams show on their resume. I want our product to be so solid and well defined that people know when they’re seeing a ‘pipe dreams show’. I want solid, well developed original work from both Millikin students and those abroad back in our space. I want us to sell out every show. I want us to not have to worry about money (hey, a boy can dream, right?). I want equipment that works. But most importantly I want our black box to be a place for the theatrical rebels to come play. It’s safe here. Bring your crazy piece (scripted or not) into our space and come play. Take chances. Be daring. Be innovative. 

 

If you have any questions for Nick contact him at nthroop@millikin.edu.

 

-Jane Davis

Why PDST?

Rabbit Hole, PDST’s first production of this semester, opens this Friday! You can buy tickets or will call them at pipedreams.ticketleap.com. You got a little inside look at Rabbit Hole last week and if you follow our facebook or twitter you’ll see we have a video on the production as well. You’re all ready to go see Rabbit Hole because of last week’s blog so in this weeks’ blog we’re going to give you a backstage look at PDST. First let me establish some ethos on my character so you know why I have the credibility to talk on this subject.

If you haven’t gathered, my name is Jane Davis. I’m a junior stage management major at Millikin University. I’ve been involved with PDST since the fall of 2010 where I was Production Manager for a semester. It only took a semester for me to learn production manager and stage manager have no similarities except that we both have manager in our title. So I got out of that realllll fast. The next semester, spring of 2011, I was Production Assistant. This really means I created all the bio boards and programs and was social media manager, so I was in charge of updating the facebook and twitter. I studied abroad in London, England for the fall semester for 2011 so I had a semester break from PDST. I just couldn’t stay away so now its spring of 2012 and I am back. This semester I’m in the same position I left. I’m in charge of the social media sites, now including this awesome word press blog, and create programs and digital bio boards. With three semesters under my belt of PDST it’s safe to say I know a little bit about it, its values, and why it’s so important on campus. If I didn’t love the company, I wouldn’t keep coming back and plan to come back. Now let’s take a backstage look at PDST.

PDST is fully a student run company. We have one faculty advisor who sees us twice a week to make sure we’re not burning down the theatre. Twice or so a semester we report to a board of Department of Theatre and Dance faculty members who double check that we’re not burning down the theatre, but other than that, PDST is the product of about twenty students working really hard to put up shows, get the word out, and make some great art. Most of us have no business background or even previous experience in the current job we are fulfilling. That may sound silly, to have people with no experience running a company, running a company, but actually that’s the most exciting part of it all. PDST is a place where you can come and try something brand new in a safe and encouraging environment. It’s hard to build experience when most places require previous experience to get the job. At PDST you find an environment that allows you to try completely new things. Are you an actor who wants to see what all this lighting design is about? PDST is your place. Are you a stage manager who wants to be on the other side of the rehearsal room performing? PDST is the place. Are you someone who wants to take pictures of a bunch of marshmallow peeps on PDST equipment? That’s me. So don’t take away my fun. But PDST is a place where you can bring your new ideas and your new interests and try them out. You can even try being a part of the PDST Artistic Board, the ones that have the largest hand in running the company. In running this company we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t with our seasons. We’ve learned that making money is crucial to a company’s longevity. We’ve learned that running a company takes a lot of work. And we’ve learned these things through trial and error, something PDST allows because it is a learning environment.

Without PDST on campus, Millikin students would have a considerably smaller pool of learning opportunities. There would be fewer performances per semester on campus so less performance opportunities for our performance majors. There would be less stage management opportunities for our stage management students. There would be less design opportunities for our design students. There would be less theatre administration opportunities for our theatre administration students. There would be less directing opportunities for students interested in directing. If you haven’t gotten the point now that PDST provides a lot of opportunities to Millikin students, then you should just stop reading. Without PDST, you’ve lost a safe place for us, the Millikin students to try new things and experiment and play. Right now, there is no end in sight for PDST but there will be if we don’t have student involvement. We are a company run by really smart students, so we need your help. So with this post, I’m trying to encourage you to become involved with PDST. Help by seeing a show, volunteering to usher or be a house manager, or interview to be on the PDST staff or Artistic Board. We’d be more than happy to have you on any of our teams. If you’re a community member interested in supporting PDST, come see our shows, come see our shows, and come see our shows. Community members are just as important as our staff members. You provide us with someone to please and give us some of the best feedback. We would love to see more community members at our show because we want to see new faces in PDST!

Now that you have an inside look at how PDST is run and you have your inside look at Rabbit Hole, take your internet browser to http://www.pipedreams.ticketleap.com and get a ticket to see Rabbit Hole this weekend. Tickets are $5 for Millikin students and $8 dollars for non Millikin students, pretty cheap theatre if you ask me. There is an 8pm show Friday and Saturday and a 2pm show on Saturday and Sunday at our location on the corner of Oakland and Wood Street in Decatur, Illinois. Hope to see you there and while you’re there, stop one of the people working the show and ask them about why they like working in PDST. Don’t be surprised when they all say it’s because they love this company.

-Jane Davis

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