Good morning and Happy Friday! Today I have a special interview to share from Lori Lum, a fantastic theatre teacher and director in San Diego, California. I worked with Lori developing digital set projections for The Wiz last year and discovered what a dedicated, intelligent, and visionary director she is. I hope you enjoy her theatrical musings as much as I did.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
When I was in middle school, I saw a production of Man of La Mancha on a school trip to St. Louis. It was probably the first live show I had seen after being raised on movie musicals. At the end of the show, it felt like I had been holding my breath forever and I let out a huge sigh...right then, I knew that I had to make theatre my life.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
At our audience-invited dress rehearsal for The Wiz, the student playing Lion had a bit of a panic attack backstage and didn’t make his entrance. Headset on, script in hand, I went onstage for him to keep the show moving. The happy moment came when he found his courage and came onstage during the lyric “standing strong and tall." I gave him a huge hug and let him take over from there.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
When I was a child, we would go to watch the Ringling Bros. Circus each time it came to my hometown. When I was about 5 years old, I have a distinct memory of a group of aerialists hanging from a rocketship rig that circled around above one of the rings as they performed. Something happened with the rigging, and one of the performers plummeted to the ground from about 45 feet up. The lights over that ring immediately went down and out came the clowns and other performers at rings two and three to distract from the medics. The show went on, and fortunately the performer was injured but okay.
Why do you love theatre?
I love theatre because it has power. It brings people together to examine life through a variety of lenses, and it can make us see and understand in ways that are not possible through a simple conversation. I also love theatre because of the sense of purpose that you feel when a company of people comes together on a production. Theatre people are some of the most determined, intelligent, and talented people you will ever meet, and though it can be challenging at times, it is also incredibly satisfying work.
Theatre is for...
because it allows us to examine what has been, imagine what could be, and give voice to all for the creation of a better tomorrow.
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