The Producers- The Changing Of the Guard in PA’s Theatre Department

In case you haven’t noticed, students at PA are usually hungry. So when the Theater Classroom productions started raffling off M&Ms to students with the winning number on their programs, the theatre classroom just left of the vending machine in GW got more crowded on Friday nights. Free M&Ms were just one of the many changes that the 2005-2006 Theatre Producers, Danny Silk ’07, Emma Dorsey ’06, and Lisa Donchak ’06, have implemented since their reign began last spring. “The Drama Lab Producers are the three leaders of the student theatre organization, the Drama Lab,” explained Lucas McMahon ’08, who was recently chosen to be a Producer next year. In addition to increasing the attendance at the Drama Labs and the number of labs per term to thirteen, the current Producers have also increased the diversity of theatre participants at P.A. “Last term, half of our directors were directing for the first time,” said Silk. “We felt like we accomplished [adding diversity] pretty well this year.” Next year, three new Producers, Lucas McMahon, Lilli Stein ’07, and James Flynn ’07, will fill the ’05-’06 Producers’ places in the hopes of strengthening the department even more. “We had eight very qualified candidates for Producership,” said Silk. “All of them had a lot of experience in the department; they all brought a lot of different things to the table.” The three Producers were picked because “they have a lot of different experiences, both with theatre and with Andover,” according to Silk. So what will the Producers do next year? “There is a lot more to it than people think,” said Silk. Producers, according to Silk, are in charge of applications for show space, auditions, advertising, and communication between the theatre department and publications on campus, among other departmental concerns. McMahon explained that “throughout the production process, [the Producers] organize auditions, advise directors on their shows, and make sure that their production process moves smoothly from start to finish.” Stein, who has directed five productions and acted in about fifteen, looks forward to her new role in the Theatre Department. “I want to improve upon how auditions are held by making them always on Wednesday nights, because weekend auditions don’t [always] work too well,” she said. She’d also like to advertise the auditions sooner, and says that “the biggest thing…[is] to help new directors become better directors.” McMahon added that “student theater as a whole has been strengthened, and our team plans to continue to produce shows that we feel will be both entertaining and intriguing… it is time to explore different options within this program to continue to produce successful Drama Lab shows.” Silk reflected on his year as a Producer: “I can’t say that the Producers necessarily deserve credit [for the increase in drama lab interest], but just knowing that the department is much better than it was last year feels pretty good,” he said. Looking ahead, McMahon said, “I am truly thrilled to be working with James and Lilli next year. I couldn’t have asked for two better teammates.” “[And] come see the Steves—write that in the article!” said Stein. (The Steves: Andover’s Own Awards Show is tentatively scheduled for May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Tang.)