Through the lens of Greek tragedy, If We Were Birds presents an unflinching commentary on contemporary war and its devastating aftermath, particularly for the women who become its victims.
20% Theatre Company is excited to present this beautiful, shocking and brutal new play by Erin Shields at Nimbus Theater September 13-27, 2014. Before and during the run of this show, we will be giving you the chance to learn a little bit more about the artists involved in our production. In this interview, meet stage management apprentice Chandler Daily.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?
My little sister did theater when we were kids, and I wanted to as well but did not get my kicks from acting. Someone gave me an opportunity to stage manage a play called The Curious Savage my freshman year of high school and I have been doing that ever since. I love everything about theater, and no aspect is really boring to me, from the front of house to the sound design to the dramaturgy. That’s why I love being a stage manager, it’s the one place where I get to be a part of all of it. It really hasn’t occurred to me to do something else with my life.
What originally drew you to 20% Theatre’s Apprentice Program?
I have been an admirer of 20% since I moved to the Twin Cities for school and always hoped to work here someday. It has long been my goal to make theater that speaks to the lives of queer people, transgender people and women, and 20% Theatre does such amazing work that is so crucial to the community here. I also appreciate how dedicated 20% is to supporting artists, and I was drawn to the learning opportunity that an apprenticeship would provide as I start working more in the professional theatre community.
What do you hope to learn or gain from this apprenticeship with 20% Theatre and If We Were Birds?
I hope to gain a new perspective on stage management and an opportunity to develop best practices in a way that I don’t get to when I stage manage and have to spend my time staving off crises instead of reflecting on strategies. I have also had the amazing chance to learn a lot about various artistic processes through observation. It has been amazing to work with so many wonderful feminist artists in the warm cocoon that is 20%. They somehow manage to be close-knit and familial while staying incredibly open and welcoming. It’s pretty magical.
What do you think will be the most challenging and/or rewarding part of ASMing this production?
So far, I have really enjoyed watching Lee direct and work through the material with the actors. It has been an incredibly beautiful and organic process full of emotional and artistic collaboration. I anticipate it will be challenging to support actors when they have incredibly strong relationships with some of their fellow actors, and rarely if ever share the stage with others, given that this is a play where many of the characters are existing on entirely different planes and have been rehearsing separately. If that sounds vague and mysterious, good! Come see the play!
What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?
I am a junior at Hamline University, where I’m on the executive board of Spectrum and do other queer organizing. I am especially passionate in educating other queer and transgender people about their sexual health and empowerment, and building more inclusive radical communities. In my free time, I talk to my little sister, read, and seek out increasingly obscure punk bands on the internet.
What is your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
I love how supportive and interconnected the communities are here. Maybe it’s just the infamous “Minnesota Nice” attitude, or maybe it’s that the Twin Cities are much smaller than my home city of Chicago, but I feel like artists and activists here are interested first and foremost in building strong connections and communities. I have experienced so many people reaching out to me since I moved here, giving me opportunities to grow as a theater maker. There has never been a sense of competition or gatekeeping with anyone.
What is your favorite type of bird?
The noble dinosaur