October 2014

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October 2014

News From

Around the Institute

Be a Moth - Sharing Stage Lingo with NPR Listeners

Yes, that was Executive Director David Grindle heard explaining stage jargon on National Public Radio's All Things Considered on September 15.

NPR's Melissa Block interviewed him for the "Trade Lingo" series, which asks listeners to share words exclusive to their professions and the funny stories behind them.

As a former opera stage manager, he submitted "moths and cockroaches" as lighting design terms for performers who either "flock to" or "skitter away from" the spotlight. Ms. Block interviewed him in July while he was in Florida on Institute business.

In the four-minute interview, David shed light on the insect reference, listed hilarious ways the word "practical" gets used backstage, and threw in some stage direction brain twisters: "Remember, if it goes out, it's 'up'; if it's in, it's 'down'; if it's right, it's 'left'; if it's left, it's 'right'..."

The segment closed with a mention of USITT and Ms. Block's reminder to "be a moth, not a cockroach."

All Things Considered has over 11 million listeners.

USITT, YD&T Winner Rizzotti to Attend PLASA London

USITT will have a booth at PLASA London October 5 to 8 at the ExCeL Center and Patrick Rizzotti,YD&T 2014 USITT Scene Design Award Winner, will present.

Mr. Rizzotti received his award, sponsored by Rose Brand, at the Fort Worth 2014 Conference & Stage Expo. He earned his MFA in scenic design from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and has been working in New York ever since. The New York Times and Theatre Mania praised his sets for the Off-Broadway shows Sex and Education and Jasper in Deadland. He won the 2013 OPERA America Director Designer Showcase for his set design for Elmer Gantry.

He will show his portfolio and speak about his work at the ExCeL Center's Theatres Trust Stage on Monday, October 6.

USITT will staff a booth for the three-day show to promote its 2015 Conference & Stage Expo March 18 to 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and announce the 2016 event, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

An Unexpected Visitor

Monday morning at the National Office was brightened on September 15 when Pat Larmer dropped in unexpectedly from his home in California. We were delighted to finally meet his wife who stars in many of his conversations, and to pet his two dogs, too. The Larmer family was "just passing through" with their truck and travel trailer on a visit to the Adirondacks. Pat, who was Troubleshooter Coordinator at many Conferences, gets extra credit for negotiating his rig not only to the office, but finding a place to park it and make it look easy!

In Sadness — Jennie Zesmer Gorrell

We note with sadness the death of Jennie Zesmer Gorrell, wife of USITT Fellow and Standards Committee chair Jerry Gorrell. Mrs. Gorrell, who often accompanied her husband to USITT events, was 62 when she died September 17 in Scottsdale. Services were held in in Phoenix in September. Donations in her name may be made to Behind the Scenes.

ETC Names LDI Student Sponsorship Winners

Congratulations to the many USITT members who were among those receiving 2014 LDI Student Sponsorships from ETC.

ETC is committed to mentoring students who have an interest in lighting and stage technology, and offer its annual LDI Student Sponsorship providing a select group of students an all-expense-paid trip to the LDI tradeshow. The students have the opportunity to go behind the scenes with ETC to learn about the latest technologies and to network with some of the industry's key figures. The sponsorship also pairs the students with industry leaders who offer advice, and inspiration.

Winners are:

  • Kristen Geisler is earning a master of fine arts in lighting design from the University of Tennessee. She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of South Florida in theater design.
  • At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ben Golden is working toward a master of fine arts in theatre and drama with a lighting design emphasis, and researching his thesis on the use of project-based teaching in lighting design.
  • Amanda Warren is earning a bachelor of fine arts in design and technology from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, with an expected graduation date of fall 2015. She has designed the lighting for several shows at her university, including Tunnel of Love, Adam and the Experts, and Blood Wedding. This year, she earned first place and best lighting design in the Action Design Competition by Rose Brand and USITT
  • In 2013, Lillie Kahkonen earned an associate's degree in technical theatre from Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. She is currently earning a bachelor's of science in theatre design and production from Towson University, expecting to graduate next year
  • Annette Roggenbuck began her college career at the College of Marin in California and will graduate in 2015 with a bachelor of fine arts in lighting design from Southern Oregon University.
  • Minghan Shi, an international sponsorship recipient, holds a bachelor's degree in lighting design from the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, where he earned several outstanding student awards. He is earning a master's degree in stage and lighting design at the Beijing Dance Academy.
  • One of this year's international student recipients, Ryan Shuker, is pursuing a bachelor of dramatic arts degree, specializing in lighting design for theatre and events, from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia. He has had internships with the Melbourne Theatre Company, Opera Australia, and lighting designer Damien Cooper