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Behind The Scenes
An Interview With...Keri Haas

How did you get started in theater?
When I was little, my grandparents wanted me to join every activity available, and so my parents brought me to dozens of classes, including an
acting class at Kids for Kids, which I don't remember, but I remember we did perform Little Women.  Years later, in middle school, my friends ran spotlight for the Disney on Broadway show, and they always talked about how much fun it was, and they told stories out the wazoo.  I decided to join with them in 9th grade, and they went to one meeting and never came back.  I
stayed in because I still wanted to have fun. 
What hooked you? School play, Broadway show, etc.
What hooked me was the fun my friends had.  I don't think it was really the "magic" then, but now it definitely is.  Why else would I sit up in the
lighting booth for 2 1/2 hours by myself watch- ing Don't Drink the Water? I'll tell you, it's not for the money. =-)
What was the first show you ever worked on?
It was Pippin in 9th grade.  I moved big pieces of scenery.  Technically,  in 8th grade, with the art club, I helped paint scenery for "Disney on
What was first show you ever saw?
Beauty & the Beast, in 6th grade for out "elementary school senior trip."  I probably saw shows before this, but I don't' recall.  The first regional theater show I saw was a week after I got my job at Airport Playhouse (scroll down for that story). My Mom and her friend Andrea were going to see Once Upon a Mattress at Theater Three, and I was like "eww, no, that's so lame"
but my Mom dragged me, and I think I enjoyed it.
What is your position on a production?
Usually, I run the light board, the spotlight, and the sound board.  I've stage managed 4 shows, and done stage crew for 6 shows.  
Describe what your job entails. 
  For running the lighting board, spotlight, and sound board, my job is sitting there, and watching the show every night, reading the script, and occasionally pressing the "Go" button on the lighting board.  Then for songs,
I flip a switch on the spotlight and point it at the singers.  It's not that hard of a job, but It's enjoyable. 
  Stage managing is more difficult, and it was explained by Wendy in a previous Techie Interview.  Also, I just did a report on it for school, so if anyone wants to read it, it'll explain the job in detail.
Did you go to school to learn what you do?
Well, not quite Did.  I'm currently learning about all these things at Suffolk Community College. 
What has been your favorite show to work on?
My favorite show probably has to be, besides my high school shows, which were the greatest, Dial M.  It was my co-first stage managing experience (meaning I was stage managing my school show at the exact same time), and the
cast was great. 
What motivates you to keep doing what your doing?
I have no idea! When I first working regionally, When my brother asked my dad why I don't get a real job which pays $300 a week like my friends did, my dad said that this was just a phase, and I'll grow out of it.  That was 2 1/2 years ago. 
How do you feel about pre-casting?
I really don't have any preference.
What was your worst theater experience?
The worst production I ever worked on was Meet Me in St. Louis.  The cast was fun, but it was an awful production.  The trolley went right into the
living room! They cut up the stage so there would be a little ramped walkway  in the apron, and the stage hasn't been the same since. 
What was your best theater experience?
Every theater experience is the best! Although at Airport, I get into a sort of routine, and every show just seems like the last one, each one is a
learning experience for me.  And the shows where I learn the most are my favorite.  Dial M for Murder, and Once Upon a Mattress (at my high school) were my best.  Also, I performed on stage for my school's Broadway Night.  That was one of my best because I realized that actors do put in time and effort.  It's much more spread out than the tech.  Tech has one week to make everything perfect, and the actors get 4 or 5 weeks to perfect their acts. 
Did you ever miss a cue bad enough to be noticeable?
Ha! Yes, I have.  Numerous times, but a few in particular.  In May 2000, Airport did Odd Couple.  It's a great, and extremely funny show, but for most of the show, there are only the two guys on stage.  It gets pretty boring looking at a bright yellow set for so long.  I was really busy at school, and never got enough sleep.  I decided to lye down on the floor, and read the script, I had about 10 pages before my next cue, when I dozed off.  I was awakened when Jim Colavecchio [I've known this guy for so long, and I still can't spell his last name, sorry Jim!] came up the stairs of the booth, and said KERI WAKE UP! I had slept through my cue, and apparently the actors had been standing on stage for 5 min waiting for the blackout.  I felt so guilty I sat up in the booth all intermission. One or two of the cast members got really mad at me, but everyone else forgave me in a snap, and needless to say, I never fell asleep on the floor again. 
Do you find that your family supports your love of theater?
Yes, very much so.  Before I got my license, my parents drove me to Airport, 30 min round trip, every Wednesday, Saturday, Friday, Sunday, and 5 days a week for tech week.  Plus, my parents have come to nearly every show I've
worked on, even though my Mom falls asleep, without fail, during every single straight play. =-)
Why do you work at the theaters that you do?
Well, I work consistently at Airport Playhouse.  There's plenty of good reasons I work there, but basically because of coincidence.  In 10th grade,
my spring drama was canceled due to "high school squabbles" and I was really disappointed I wasn't going to be able to work on a show, so with my parents support, I went in search of a theater.  I went to the phone book, and called
the first theater, and "lo and behold" the lighting board operator was going to college at the end of the summer.  Kim Dufrenoy asked me to come in and watch Italian American Reconciliation on May 20, and I opened my first every-lighting- board-raned show on June 4th: Man of La Mancha.  I've been there ever since, 25 main- stage shows later.  Now, I work there because everyone is so great. It's like being home all time.  There is the little group of people who are in every show, and everything is great.  Plus, every once in a while I get to hang out with Daniel Dufrenoy =-) he's the coolest 7 year old in the
world.  I tried once to work at other theaters, but because I worked so much at Airport, I couldn't' put in the time that was needed, but I did learn a
lot about costumes, and I got to run some fabulous children's theater =-)
Do you think Long Island theater will continue to grow?
I certainly hope so, but I'm not too sure.  Theater can only grow when there is a demand for it.  Older people like to see the "classics" Sound of Music, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, and young people like to see "rock musicals" Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar.  The majority of theatergoers on Long Island, by my view, are older people, so theaters tend to give them what they want, and occasionally having one geared towards the young crowd.  The young people may then not go to the theater, and when the old people who go there pass on, there won't be as many people to fill their spots. 
What brings you greatest joy?
People (sometimes), my friends, work, and The Simpsons!
What irks you?
When people are mean for absolutely no reason. Also, theater related, people who don't clap for the pit after the show, and people who fall asleep
during shows (ahem, Mom). 
If you won lotto tomorrow you would...
Get a nice car, a new computer, a new digital camera, and possibly when I'm done with all that, (not to copy Nicks Attanasios answer, but I'd do it too) help out Airport, move them out of the industrial park. 
Is it true you would rather be rich than good looking?
What's your favorite word?
Sostophistine.  It's actually not a word, it's a name, a girls name.  Sophie for short. It's pronounced : SO STAH FA STINE    Name your children that, I don't mind =-)
Assuming that there is a heaven, what do you want to hear when you get there?
Hi! Have fun jumping on the clouds!
Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like the readers to know about?
Sure! I'm running spotlight for Godspell at Suffolk Community right now, through December 2, then Airports Holiday Magic until Dec 15.  Then Stalag 17, Pirates of Penzance, The Dinner Party, Footloose, Phantom of the Opera, Shirley Valentine, and The Will Rogers Follies! (This also helps those of you who haven't yet heard Airports new season!)
What is your dream theatrical project?
I have no idea!