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    • Evans working backstage as PSM for Hamlet.

Artist of the Issue: Corinne Evans ’20

Sophia Zhao ’23
Corinne Evans ’20 has been a crucial part of the Hopkins Drama Association (HDA) since her sophomore year, and since then has worked on thirteen HDA productions.
Evans got involved in theater when a few of her friends were acting in Canterbury Tales, so she decided to try out for running crew. She became the Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) of Heathers: The Musical and in the past two years she has been an essential part of HDA’s shows, going on to stage manage shows including Hamlet this past fall.

When asked about the nature of her role as Production Stage Manager, she explained, “I think of stage managing in two parts: rehearsal stage management and mid-show stage management. During rehearsal, I am in charge of noting where the actors stand and how they move on the stage as well and writing rehearsal reports with notes on technical elements that need to be completed before opening night. I also make sure actors learn their lines and blocking, as well as working with Mike and Hope with various tech jobs - constructing the set, figuring out actors’ and set pieces’ traffic patterns, and creating the light and sound cues, for example.” Evans continued, “During the show, I sit in the booth on a headset connected to the Assistant Stage Manager backstage and the sound and light operators in the booth. I’m in charge of calling the show. That means I tell the lights and sound people when they should play their cues. For example, when a show starts, I make sure everyone in the audience is in the theater before calling ‘lights go,’ signalling to the lights technician to dim the house.” She went on, “My role changes with every show, just as actors are cast in different roles. So far I’ve been Production Stage Manager, but I’ve also filled other roles, like ASM, runner, house, lights/sound for cabaret or Haunted House.”

Evans’ favorite part about stage managing is being in the booth and calling the show. She went into more depth, explaining, “I think it adds an artistic element to my role. When you call a show there’s a certain rhythm to it. You have to time lights with sound cues and think about what each audience member is experiencing and how you make it simultaneously unnoticeable but correct to them. If the sound cue comes too late, it’ll seem wrong. If things don’t work out and aren’t designed perfectly, the audience will be distracted from what they should be focusing on: the show, the actors, and the characters.”

Her favorite plays to stage manage have been Hamlet and Anon(ymous). She recalled of the latter, “It was the first show I stage managed; it was really fun because we had tons of cues, a great cast, and really cool lighting and set effects.” When asked about any particular memories from her time as part of HDA, she said, “I remember with Anon(ymous) we had a bit of a disaster on opening night. An actor got his shoelace stuck in a large set piece he had been moving on stage. As a scene was happening on top of the set piece, the whole audience could see him crouching underneath. We had to cut his shoelace off, but it all worked out in the end.”

She plans on continuing with theater in the future, saying, “I’m hoping to do it at least in college. When I get out of college I probably want to do community theater.” She explained, “I think I will not continue into arts as my career but I do hope to continue to do theater tech as a side hobby.”

While reflecting on her experience as part of HDA, she said, “It has taught me a lot about managing people. I’ve learned a lot about the technical side of putting on a show, too - how the light board works, how you connect the light board to the actual physical light, and the same with the sound board. I’m expecting to learn a bit about microphones during the musical. I learned a lot during Hamlet about theater ‘tech theory’ What’s the best way to light a stage with three point or four point lighting? Just interesting things you wouldn’t have really thought of.”
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