I have been involved with theater productions for the last 13 years of my life. Everything from school productions to Community Theater, and with over 30 shows under my belt I have done just about every job the theatre has to offer. While I do not consider myself to be a theater professional (believe me I know some, they are genius) I always thought I had a lot to offer in any production. Until recently, I would be a part of a show, or a part of the crew, but now as George in Diana Son’s Stop Kiss, and a member of the Theater Westminster Crew, I have bridged the gap.

It is an interesting experience for sure and I feel as if my brain is split right down the middle. While I work on the set design by Carol Sulla, the left side of my brain operates the tools and keeps all my digits intact (yes, I have ten fingers and toes!) while my right brain helps me design with my acting in mind. I think of rehearsal the night before and say “Gee, I really should build escape platforms because stepping up into a scene is throwing me off my game…”

Dan Gutmann works on bench building for Book of Days.

Dan Gutmann works on bench building for Book of Days.

The same happens in reverse at rehearsal. While I am operating as George I may trip on a loose corner of the stage or lean on a non-existing prop and left brain takes notes on what it could potentially be building the next day. It becomes an endless whirlwind of to do lists that satisfy my role as either George or set builder.

Dan Gutmann and Liz Ishman rehearse on the couch during Stop Kiss.

Dan Gutmann and Liz Ishman rehearse on the couch during Stop Kiss.

Having this experience has shown me an important part of the theater: interdependence. Without actors there can be no show, without a crew there can be no show, without lights, without sound, the list goes on and on. No one job is any more important than another and all of the aspects have to come together just right, and that’s the difference between a good show and a great show.