Amanda has the honor of being the first American to receive a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1981. Since then she has been a recipient of numerous other awards, including the Princess Grace Dance Fellowship. Ms. Mckerrow joined American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1982, was appointed to the rank of soloist in 1983, and became a principal dancer in 1987. She danced leading roles in the major classics, and had numerous works created for her by many of the great choreographers of the twentieth century. She has also appeared as a guest artist throughout the world. Ms. McKerrow is a trustee for the Antony Tudor Trust, and together with her husband John Gardner stages many of the Antony Tudor ballets around the world. Ms. McKerrow is also in demand as a master teacher for both students and professional dancers.
Part One: Lights
It is 10 p.m. Rehearsal is over, the actors are gone. But work for Clint Bryson is just beginning.
Though he designs and builds sets for the drama department at Catalina Foothills High School, Bryson is the lighting designer for The Winter’s Tale. He began in theatre as an actor, but he discovered a passion for working backstage in college.
Bryson admitted that he’s not adept in the graphic arts. “With painting, my hands just don’t work that way,” he said. Lighting is a good balance between the artistic and the technical. “It’s painting with light on a three dimensional black canvas.”
This evening, Bryson is hooking up the lights. The process takes about 8 hours, spread over a couple of days. “One of the fun challenges here is that every show is a different configuration,” Bryson said, referring to the theatre’s changing setup.
For Winter’s Tale, the stage is pushed back farther than normal, with two sections on either side for the musicians. There is a large section jutting out in the middle, the audience surrounding it on three sides. This means that Bryson must figure out how to treat all three sides equally.
There’s an old adage in the theatre that the lights are something that shouldn’t be noticed. They serve to enhance and support the play, not be the focus. The lights are essential in driving the emotion and energy people experience. “It’s a lot of fun to have that kind of manipulation of an audience,” he said.
He’s not the sole creative force behind the look of the lights. The process began with script consultation and style discussion with the director before he applied his knowledge. He typically watches one rehearsal near the end of the process to help make final lighting decisions.
The design process, according to Bryson is “adding your artistic stamp and ideas to a collaborative group of people that have a vision for the show.”
As an example, he explained how music influences his decisions. Like lighting, it helps set the emotion in a scene. Hearing the music can help pinpoint the specific emotion underlying the moment.
He then turns to the small swatch books full of colors, searches through the subtleties for just the perfect color.
Though Bryson designed the lights, he won’t be running them for the show. The stage manager, Leah Taylor, will ensure the cues run smoothly during the performance.
Bryan is a director/designer, recently re-based in Tucson, who also spends time crafting the occasional independent film. He is the former artistic director of two Indiana-based theater companies: The Backporch Theater Company (a Shakespeare traveling troupe) and New World Arts (an experimental black box theater company). His most recent projects include directing The New Electric Ballroom and assistant directing As I Lay Dying and The Tempest at The Rogue as well as directing Tracy Letts’ Bug at New World Arts. Every once in awhile he flexes a pen to stroke a quiet phrase or two.
Leah was Stage Manager for The Rogue Theatre’s Major Barbara, As I Lay Dying, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment andThe New Electric Ballroom, and Assistant to the Stage Manager for The Decameron. She was Stage Manager for The Now Theatre’s The Pillowman, The Bald Soprano and Overruled. Other work includes shows with Winding Road Theatre Ensemble and Sacred Chicken Productions. Leah graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Anthropology.
Anton Shekerjiev, musician
Born and raised in Bulgaria, Anton traveled extensively in Eastern and Western Europe playing music from the Balkans, and lived for several years in Spain performing with masters of Bulgarian music. In 2001 he moved to the USA, and in Tucson formed the bands Balkan Spirit, Trite Muzikante, MoroMore and others, performing Mediterranean, Flamenco, Moroccan, Asian and other types of world music. Anton currently performs with the bands Gsol, Tarraf de Tucson, Mzekala and others playing tamboura, djura, guitar, and kaba gaida (bagpipe). He has recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.