Hello my lovely readers and happy #TheatreThursday 🎭! I wanted to introduce you to a new “segment” on my blog called Headset Chat. This will be a bi-weekly post in which I interview theatre professionals (of all ages/experience levels and in all areas of the field) about what they do, why they do it, how they got started, and anything else that may get brought up along the way. I have been fortunate enough to have MANY (so, so many) incredible mentors and friends in all parts of the country/doing all different things and I want these interviews to be a resource for people who perhaps don't have mentors or maybe can't afford to go to USITT to make these connections. Would love any feedback anyone has or if you anyone has a specific question they want asked or person they want interviewed- let me know.
Interview 1: In which I interview my best roommate and best friend ✨
Name: Molly Weaver
Current City: Chicago!!!!
Area/Areas of Theatre: Stage Manager, Playwright, Artist
University and Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Dance, Minor in Creative Writing from James Madison University
Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts: Neither... I frequent local coffee shops.
Favorite show you’ve seen:
Hir, Woolly Mammoth (DC). I saw it during Pride in 2017 and, for me, it defines dangerous, thought provoking theater.
Favorite show you’ve worked on:
The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier, Assistant Stage Manager. COAC was the first show I did in Chicago. It's a new musical that tells the true story of a transgender civil war hero, and it holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. The people, the music and the experiences I gained working on the show helped shape my life in Chicago.
Favorite part of your current location:
EVERYTHING. The people, the dogs (they're everywhere), storefront theater, how much theater there is, how scrappy and incredible storefront artists are, the coffee shops, the architecture, the food. EVERYTHING.
Any exciting projects you are working on or coming up that you want to share?
Currently, I am working at TimeLine Theatre Company, a small Equity theater in Lakeview (Chicago). I am the non-equity production assistant for BOY, running through March 18th. The company is making amazing steps to being more diverse in its staff and the stories they tell, and they do everything with attention and care. I feel so welcome and valued working at TimeLine and I can't wait to go back next season.
Craziest live theatre experience and how you handle it:
During COAC, we used five different civil war era rifles, all non firing but very realistic. During one performance, a gun literally broke in half. There was no time to fix it so that it would be safe to use, so I needed to think through the gun tracking, and figure out how to pass guns around for the rest of the show. The gun broke in the middle of the end of Act 1 musical number, so I needed to grab a gun as soon as it exited with a performer, and cross to the other side of the stage so that a performer entering from the other side could have the prop they needed. Because we had no backstage crossing, I had to take the gun, wrap it in my sweater, and literally run with it through the lobby, outside, through an alley, and back into the theater. Terrifying.
Did you remember the moment you decided you wanted to do theatre as a career?
When I was 17, I got paid to stage manage Into the Woods for a community theater. I remember being in the booth opening night and watching the audience give a standing ovation. I started to cry because I was just so damn happy and proud and I knew that this was what I was going to do, for as long as I could do it.
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The summer before I came to college, the youth pastor from the church I was raised in told me "be like water". He explained it like this: take the doors that are opened to you. Don't ignore opportunities. Whether its fate, or a higher power, or karma or just dumb luck, life will lead you where you are meant to go. Learn how to go for what you want but don't ignore what you are given, don't turn away from amazing chances. Trust your gut, be like water and just go. You'll get where you need to be.
One thing college didn’t teach you about that you wish you knew before graduating:
How to figure out a budget. How to read in between the lines of a contract. How to combat burn out (it is REAL). How to look for an apartment.
What is the best way you have learned to combat stress in the field:
Breathe. Stop, even if it's for a second, and breathe. See the problem, act on instinct if you must, and if you do have the time (i.e. not an emergancy like a literal fire) consider multiple options and ask for help. A second opinion from another perspective will always be helpful.
Anything else you want to tell anyone reading this?
The world is so big, and people are so amazing and strange and complicated. Live your truth and build a home wherever you go. If you're miserable, change. Pay your taxes. Don't forget to eat. Drink water. Love yourself, even if you have to fake it for a bit.
I hope you all enjoyed this week's post! Be sure to follow me on social media to see my USITT adventures starting on Sunday! 💜