Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog


Interview With Greg Solomon


Interview With Greg Solomon

 

A few weeks ago, during technical rehearsals for Bad Dates, I had the chance to interview the show’s Assistant Lighting Designer, Greg Solomon. Greg is currently a student at SUNY Purchase, and came up to MRT to work on Bad Dates during his spring break.


Where did you grow up, and when did you decide you wanted to work in theatre? What have you done so far to pursue that career?

 

My family moved around a lot when I was growing up. By the time I graduated from high school, I had lived in Chicago, Sarasota FL, New York, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. I remember seeing my first live performance at the Second City in Chicago—it was a production of Alice and Wonderland my parents took me to for my fourth or fifth birthday, and wow, was I amazed. After that, my parents enrolled me in young actor classes at Second City, which carried on to my taking lessons at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota and the Actors Creative Experience, an acting studio in conjunction with the Helen Hayes in Nyack, NY. Somewhere along the line, I discovered light and was invigorated by its ability to carry a story in the most non-intrusive yet all-encompassing way.  During high school, I interned in lighting at the Montgomery Theater and People’s Light and Theatre Company, both in Philadelphia. I later took internships at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA and New York Stage and Film in Poughkeepsie, NY. All these experiences have immensely helped me find work as a designer and assistant.  I am currently pursuing my BFA in Lighting Design at SUNY Purchase. 

 

What are the responsibilities of an assistant lighting designer on a show like Bad Dates?

 

Bad Dates is an interesting process for me, because it is the first time I have worked on a transfer without being involved in the original production.  Matthew had already developed his design in Lenox and made changes to the plot for our MRT run.  My responsibility has mainly been to carry the design in his absence—focusing the lights with the wonderful crew here and tweaking the cues (or looks) throughout the rehearsal and preview process.

 

Can you compare your experience working on Bad Dates with other shows you have worked on? Have you encountered any unique challenges on this production?

 

As I said before, the biggest difference is the nature of the transfer.  I’ve had to quickly familiarize myself with the production and make sure that any changes still maintain the integrity of the original design. 

 

Long-term, what are your career goals?

 

I love theatre, and I love lighting. My goal is to continue working with incredible artists and tell the stories we need to tell. If that means Broadway someday, I’ll be overjoyed. If it means a project in someone’s garage, count me in. There are certainly a handful of theatrical designers who venture into the worlds of dance and opera. Down the line, I’d be interested in exploring these paths as well, but for now the theater is my passion. It is a rare instance where artists and storytellers, technicians and managers, people from all walks of life can come together and experience something. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

 

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