Each year we hire young theatre professionals to help transition between educational and professional theatre. As a season draws to a close we say goodbye to another season apprentice. Lexi Salmon talks below of her time working with us.
Applying for an Apprenticeship with Theatre Three was the best decision I could have made for myself. Going into this job, I was the most lost I have ever been. The pandemic amongst other struggles made it easy to lose much of my confidence and drive. I guess it takes flipping the pages of a scenic, four-times-my-size-multi-season tree, shooting snakes out of a cannon, putting on a show for ghosts, and a company manager that answers my weekly/daily questions, to gain back that confidence. In all seriousness, I am grateful for my time here as the amount of skills I have acquired and pride in my work is a dream come true. As said in a recent staff meeting, the 2022 season has most certainly been a unique experience and apprenticeship.
Working on and offsite at T3 and Bryant Hall for Maytag Virgin were very fun experiences! I enjoyed getting to learn where everything was in both theatres in such a short amount of time. I loved working with the stage manager, Leah Fitzgerald. She is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met and was a perfect first mentor. Whitney LaTrice Coulter, the director, had such a gift in creating these beautiful intimate moments that gave the actors such radiance onstage. I loved watching her work with them so gracefully. She and Leah created such a supportive environment, and we all talked about our love for crystal stuff which is always a plus. During the last week of the show, between a Saturday night and Sunday matinee I was hospitalized after a mass lump grew on the side of my neck and my throat closed. The T3 staff couldn’t have been more empathetic as they focused on prioritizing my health over work. Unfortunately, I was unable to close the show, but I got to see closing night which was a really cool experience.
Before rehearsals for our next show started, I got to be a part of the filming of the Drunk History episode of Stede Bonnet! I envy anyone who gets to work on these because it was a blast. Goofing with the entirety of the staff is truly a core memory.
Working on Stede Bonnet: A F*cking Pirate Musical was f*cking awesome. IT’S A PIRATE MUSICAL!! I was obsessed with the show as many of our audiences were. The writers, Nicole Neely and Clint Gilbert, are incredibly gifted. One of my highest successes for this show was spending three hours de-matting and beautifying Stede’s wig for the show. I’ve never been more proud of hair. I got to shoot confetti out of a cannon every night and timed shooting a final snake out of the cannon while Parker Gray (Stede Bonnet) caught it midair before his final bow. My proudest moment was sitting behind Blackbeard’s throne and rhythmically spraying haze during his sexy introductory number. I was given the freedom to improvise and always got a laugh! I admire everyone who worked on this show. It is almost unfathomable how this brand-new musical came together in only three weeks. You don’t know one of the best triple threats in DFW until you have met Danielle Georgiou, the director. She is an explosion of delight and creativity, along with being a powerhouse performer and choreographer! Danny Anchondo, the music director, is such a kind hearted and talented musician. Their kindness and creative leadership was beautifully shown in this phenomenal show that of course was a major success. Our stage manager for Stede Bonnet, Gabby Leodiou, is a superhero. It was very clear that she gives her ALL in her work. Although it started out very intense, once I caught up to her pace it was incredible to see how well we worked together and how far I had come. After my hospital trauma in February, my drive plummeted. She, unknowingly, propelled it back up by pushing me to be my absolute best for this production. These three inspired me to be my absolute best so that I can create fulfilling experiences like these for others.
My final production of my apprenticeship, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, was ironically the most heartwarming even though the play itself isn’t very uplifting. In these past several weeks I have been in awe of the cast especially, Jeffrey and Christie. With the show being postponed due to a delay in getting our Certificate of Occupancy, we had many rehearsals where the show was completely ready and ran for no audience. In a haunting way, it was a stunning experience. The mental gymnastics of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is not an easy challenge to take on for an actor, director, designer, or stage management team. Speaking of a director, BLAKE HACKLER! This man is such an immersed and passionate director. He knows how to entertain fearlessly. When I wasn’t prop tracking the billions of drinks of these alcoholic characters, I was enjoying the wonder of collaborations between him and the actors. Katie Hamilton, our selfless stage manager, has quickly become a dear friend. She made it a personal goal to help me gain tools and connections to get where I want to be in my work.
My treatment this season has been beyond satisfactory. Like any job, there are setbacks: shows being postponed, rewritten before opening, or a change of cast. “In times of frustration, if I can’t be of help, I can at least be kind” – Katie Hamilton (or some rando she stole it from who knows). I believe this motto fits every single person I have worked with here. The T3 staff creates this kind environment with ease and the company manager, Sarah Barnes, works tirelessly to hire people who will as well. The networking in this job is insane! I have found, through friendship with many of the people I have worked with, many future opportunities. I tend to write more than I talk, as shown as this blog is practically an essay at this point, I promise I am almost done. My pandemic driven introverted habits have blossomed into a fearless drive to work with Theatre Three and all I have met again throughout this irreplaceable experience.
*Update, I will! I am overjoyed to be working with Christie Vela again on Hamlet at Shakespeare Dallas Fall 2022!