The LA Theater Works Experience!
Venkatesh Potula describes his volunteer work for this enterprising company.
LA Theater Works is a fantastic company that audio-records live and studio productions of different famous plays, from Macbeth to their next production Frost/Nixon. Fortunately for me, their live recordings take place in UCLA's own James Bridges Theater - I don't own a car. Getting anywhere else would have been nearly impossible because of LA's incompetent bus system.
Through UCLA, I was given the opportunity to volunteer for LA Theater Works. I remember the first day I arrived at the Bridges Theater enthusiastic to work - there was no one there. It turns out that I was two hours early. Nonetheless, I waited and finally I was able to meet Michael, the Audience Service/Live Show Marketing Manager, and Vicky, the Managing Director. They were both very friendly and we started to set up for the customers. Here is that process:
1. Get the tables (both large and small) from under the stage. 2. Grab 30-35 chairs from a room that always seems to change. 3. Set up two tables with black cloths covering the surface: one for wine and one with recordings to sell.
After set-up, I also usher - a simple job. You just smile, pass out programs, and every now and then say, "Enjoy the Show!"
The great thing about volunteering for LA Theater Works is that you get to see the shows for free and sometimes meet the performers! During my first volunteer experience, I was able to meet the star of A Doll's House, Calista Flockhart!
Watching the shows is always a great experience because you get to see professional film and theater performers act. The process of a live recording is always interesting to watch because there are elements of both film and theater involved. The actor needs to be wary of his distance from the mike while also entertaining his live audience. All of the miscellaneous noises like the zipping of pants to a door opening are all also recorded live by a sound effects artist. It's all fascinating to watch! I hope someday I can be part of a production like this.
The people I have met on the team have been very helpful in my pursuits here in Los Angeles. It was Michael who able to get me involved with TheaterMania University! Thanks, Michael!
TIP: You never know who you will meet and where they may take you. Keep in contact with everyone you meet in show-business, ask for business cards - be proactive in your networking!