Cast and Crew of "Holy Laughter" at first rehearsal

Cast and Crew of “Holy Laughter” at first rehearsal

Why stop with the cast of Holy Laughter? We asked some of our designers and crew members the same three questions:

  1. What has been your greatest joy working on this production?
  2. What has been your greatest challenge?
  3. What has been your biggest surprise?

Their answers provide a fascinating glimpse at just how big and diverse a  community is required to stage a WAM show.

Brad Berridge – Sound Designer

My greatest joy has been knowing that my work will result in helping girls through WAM’s mission. Further, I am a member of a small church that has experienced many of the things that happen in the play. It was important to me to help tell that story with honesty.

The greatest challenge for me was to compose music that reflected the play without feeling to cliche’. Finding the right instrumentation and arrangements was a big artistic challenge.

I am surprised how universal the story is, and how it seems to resonant with audiences. I was concerned knowing that not many people in the Berkshires have lived through this story. The response from audiences is great and demonstrates that the characters in the play are relatable to everyone.

Brad Berridge, Kimberly Ciola, Dana Harrison, and Hope Rose Kelly during design presentations

Brad Berridge, Kimberly Ciola, Dana Harrison, and Hope Rose Kelly during design presentations

Kimberly Ciola – Choreographer

My greatest joy has been both working with the actors on the choreography and seeing them perform the final dance number. The entire process was a choreographer’s dream! Talented actors who are so focused on perfecting their craft while remaining extremely flexible and laughing through it all, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

My greatest challenge has been the timeline! Everything moves so quickly from the first rehearsal day, it is so hard to believe the show has already opened. Once rehearsals began, the month of October flew by so quickly, I really had to stay on top of my game in order to complete all of my tasks: the choreography, the lobby signs, scheduling the post-show talks, printing, etc. It is a fast paced world here at WAM!

My biggest surprise has been seeing the small gestures the actors add to the choreography. Every time I watch it, I see something different they add to the movements to help develop their character within the dance and it makes me laugh out loud every time! I love seeing them make it their own and their creativity never ceases to amaze me!

Hope Rose Kelly – Stage Manager

Above all, my greatest joy has been the people – they are all kindred spirits full of good naturedness and passion for the work and each other.

My greatest challenge is making sure everyone is on the same page and getting the info that they need – especially challenging when we all wear multiple hats and have other jobs.

My biggest surprise has been learning that a production can be put together with no drama  backstage – it is kept on the stage. WAM is a unique company in that there is no room for negativity or angst or anything that can make someone feel bad at the end of the day. Everyone works toward welcoming one another and trying to find ways to make something happen, even if it isn’t in the way that was originally imagined. We are a team from beginning to end. And I loved working with Megan who opened the room to be a truly collaborative environment – everyone was invited to bring their input out into the open and this production is a beautiful result of everyone having a hand in its conception and realization.

Hope Rose Kelly, Melissa Rao, Dana Harrison, Ron Komora, Molly Clancy, and Kimberly Ciola during table work

Hope Rose Kelly, Melissa Rao, Dana Harrison, Ron Komora, Molly Clancy, and Kimberly Ciola during table work

Melissa Rao – Assistant Stage Manager, Props, and Wardrobe

My greatest joy working on this production has been the people. This is my third WAM show and I so love working with this company. Not only does it do good for the local, national, and global communities, but the people who are involved with the company are wonderful! And so talented as well!!

My greatest challenge has definitely been wearing three different hats at the same time. On this production, I am Assistant Stage Manager, Props, and Wardrobe. Lots of things to keep track of!

My biggest surprise was that my professor from college was actually the voice coach for this production! It was great to reconnect with him and catch up a bit. And he was the one who actually recommended me to Kristen and WAM the first time!

Juliana von Haubrich presents her set design as Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Ron Komora, Lauren Gaston, and Amie Lytle look on

Juliana von Haubrich presents her set design as Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Ron Komora, Lauren Gaston, and Amie Lytle look on

Juliana von Haubrich – Scenic Designer

My greatest joy has been watching the changes to the script that Catherine made along the way, and how they impacted the rhythm and feeling of that moment in the story. That was pretty amazing. It’s the joy of working on a new play with the playwright alive and in the room. (This and the last dance number – the choreography and watching Lloyd join the dance always gave me joy.)

My greatest challenge was designing that crib that transformed into a hospital bed!  As the actors would call it, my “crib monkey,” as in “monkey on my back.”  Getting that thing to be easily assembled from 4 directions, and secure enough to spin around, then remove a side of it and still have it be secure enough to roll out of the scene in a lovely sad way….phew. Super magnets are not that super, I’ve learned.  The only other big challenge I gave to Sam Craig – making things fall out of the sky when there is a mere inches of “sky space” in the St. Germain stage. I was smart to give that task to “Samtastic,” our forever Technical Director.

My biggest surprise was learning how a devoted atheist like me could enjoy a play about Christians so much. I went into this project with a bit of baggage, having been raised in a fearful Catholic environment as a child.  But Catherine’s play had so much love and humor, and such funny characters, I found myself just going with it. And in the end, I was loving it. That surprised me.