Rapture, Blister, Burn – Get to Know Courtney Schmitz

20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage April 26 – May 10, 2014. In the weeks leading up to the show, we are giving you the chance to learn a little bit about the artists involved in this production. This week, meet Courntney Schmitz!

Courtney Schmitz - Lighting Designer
Lighting Designer

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?  

Born and raised in Mississippi, where I started attending a theatre camp in the summers (my parents had to get rid of me for a few weeks somehow). I was a terrible actor, but when I got to take the stagecraft class that was attached to the camp, I realized I belonged off of the stage instead of on it. The rest is lighting design history.

Tell us how you originally got involved with 20% Theatre Company?

Rachael Rhoades. ‘Nough said.

What are you designing in this show? As a designer, what do you find most exciting about working with this script/production?

I am designing the lights for Rapture, Blister, Burn. I think the most exciting aspect is simply working on a script that, until coming on board for the show, I was completely unfamiliar with. I get to explore a new world and ask questions that I perhaps have never really asked before.

What is your favorite genre or type of theater to design? What are some plays on your design “dream list”?

As long as it’s not musical theatre, I’m happy to design a show; I’ll find my hook into the scipt one way or another. The two plays on the top of my design dream list are Bent and Orestes 2.0.

Rapture, Blister, Burn is often called “a feminist play”. How would you describe the play? How do you feel about feminism and what it signifies today?

Feminist play is pretty accurate in a broad sense of the phrase. How I feel about feminism and that whole conversation is pretty broad and complicated, but suffice it to say that I believe we each embody our own definition of feminism.

How do you personally balance the expectations of being female in our society with the concepts of feminism in your daily life?

I just do me.

What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?

In the very small amount of free time that I have, you will either find me camped out in front of my tv watching something on netflix or you will find me belly up to a bar. In the winter, I’ve recently taken up snowboarding. And in the summer, I’m on a kickball team (Go Mighty Mullets!).

Favorite guilty pleasure snack?

Nilla Wafers

How did you get to Minneapolis? (Where did you grow up? Where are you from?)

Grew up in Mississippi. Did undergrad at University of Southern Mississippi, which led to me going to grad school at the University of Iowa. After that, I spent two years in Florida with all those retired Northerners. Then I realized, I need to move where I can find a constant stream of design gigs. So two years ago, I found myself in Minneapolis. It was a good decision. Except for these horrible winters and all the “you betchas”.

If you could snap your fingers and be anywhere in the world for a no-stress vacation, where would you choose to go at this moment?

Any beach, anywhere: Mexico, the Caribbean, South America. Doesn’t really matter, as long as there is sand, sun, and little cocktails with umbrellas in them.