Externship at Trap Door Theatre helps set up internship

Kristijonas Paltanavicius ’12 – This past Winter Break I had a wonderful opportunity to explore one of the most unique avant-garde theatre companies in Midwest–The Trap Door Theatre. This extraordinary company mostly produces unknown or unpublished obscure foreign plays. The Trap Door Theatre productions are intellectually challenging and extraordinarily artistic. They look for new and unexplored ways of expression that are excellently carried out in their highly non-conventional space. Sitting in one of only 45 seats situated all around the stage gives one a chance to experience theatre for what it really is: you can hear the actors breathing; you can capture every single look or move of a muscle, thus, you feel a part of the performance.

As an extern at that particular company I got to experience their latest work—Howard Barker’s "Minna"–even more in-depth. I was allowed to watch their rehearsals, warm-up techniques I was not necessarily familiar with, and help them prepare for the show. I had quite a few interesting conversations with Nicole Wiesner–the director of "Minna"; Garaldine Dulex–the star of the show; and David Holcombe–one of the newest members in the troupe–who told me more about the mission statement of the company and the theatrical concepts their company pursued. However, this was not the first time I had a chance to see the Trap Door Theatre work.

Matei Visniec’s “Horses at the Window” I saw at Washington and Lee University introduced me to the style those artists were working by (I also got to talk to the playwright himself). I happened to be invited to have dinner with the actors and crew where I made the connections necessary for projects like this externship. Every single member of the theatre had extremely intriguing attitudes towards theatre in our society and what art really was. Since we shared most of our views toward performing arts, I felt compelled to contact them and get involved in their work. Thank to the assistance I got from the Career Services, I was able to make it happen. The Trap Door Theatre actors remembered me by my presentation at the “Tenth National Symposium of Theatre in Academe” and welcomed me with hugs and nice words into their cozy and unique theatre.
Speaking of my social experience over this past Winter Break, I would also like to mention meeting one of Wabash alumni, Boyce Evans’08, who hosted me for five days. It was unbelievable how much we had to talk about, and how much we had in common as Wabash men. I had a wonderful time sharing my experiences with someone who loved Wabash as much as I did.
With this valuable experience at the Trap Door Theatre, I was able to get an internship with the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Lithuania for the summer of 2010. I plan on staying in touch with the people from the Trap Door Theatre, and am grateful to everyone who helped make this a wonderful externship in Chicago.