Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Civic Volunteer Album: Meet Kris Kazmierczak.

The "In the Wings" series of blog posts highlights the directors and actors of each Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette production. And while it makes sense to promote them on the blog -- actors are the face of a production, and directors are the brains -- there are whole groups of volunteers who go unrecognized, not only on this blog but also perhaps by the playgoing public.

The "Civic Volunteer Album" will highlght various Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette volunteers who more often than not volunteer behind the scenes of productions as stage managers, designers, backstage crew and much more. They are the backbone of each production, supporting what everyone else can see and hear on stage.

Kris Kazmierczak, affectionately known as "Kaz," has been involved with Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette since Annie Get Your Gun, which was part of the 1996-1997 season. She's taken on a wide array of positions in theatrical productions including photographer, stage manager, assistant director, sound designer, sound board operator, construction crew member, light board operator, backstage manager, props mistress, usher and actor.

Kris also is a member of the Civic Theatre Board of Directors, serving the second year of her three-year term in the 2008-2009 season. She serves on the Technology Committee, which was instrumental in installing a new Telex system that allows the stage manager to speak with the booth crew, backstage crew, box office and downstairs dressing rooms.

Kris said she had wanted to participate in theatre at her high school.

"I never had the nerve to audition for anything in high school," she said. "A friend showed me how to relax and have fun, and told me I could do anything I wanted. So after taking an acting class, I decided to audition for Annie Get Your Gun. Larry Sommers, the director, offered me a part in the chorus and the rest is history."

Kris' favorite production at Civic Theatre was My Fair Lady, directed by Lafayette theatre legend Dick Jaeger. It was part of the 2004-2005 Mainstage season.

"I was in the chorus of My Fair Lady, which was such fun," she said. "The people I worked with were great, and the dances we had to learn for the show were exciting. On preview night, when the chorus was halfway through 'Get Me to the Church on Time,' the audience erupted in applause, which sent chills up my spine. I knew we all had nailed that song and dance. What a thrill!"

Another favorite show was The Time Machine, a staged reading of a radio script that took place in the 2008-2009 season. Kris and Elena Escudero were the Foley artists who created sound effects live onstage while the actors read the radio script.

Civic Theatre and then-Managing Director Susan Kisinger honored Kris at the end of the 2004-2005 season by giving her the Managing Director's Award at the annual Membership Meeting and Volunteer Dinner.

"It was such a surprise," Kris said. "To be recognized for my contributions was quite an honor."

Kris concluded by encouraging other people to consider volunteering at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

"I volunteer at Civic because I love working and sharing talents with the people involved in each production," she said. "We all work together toward one common goal: to put on a quality show for the public. If you are interested in volunteering, just do it! You'll work with fun and talented people. If you don't know anything about the many jobs, volunteer as an assistant and there will be people there to help you learn."


Anonymous said...

You should be so proud--what an accomplishment! Finally--good people recognized for doing good things! Thanks for sharing your news with wishes for continued success,
Courtney (Kulp)

jessica nadine said...

I would just like to add that Kaz is not only a wonderfully generous volunteer but also an incredibly kind individual to those who work with her. Even when I was in about 7th or 8th grade I knew who "Kaz" was and that she was the cool woman who takes pictures. She has always been very nice to me.