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Company Spotlight: Vicki Smith and Anthony Simone

Vicki Smith, Set designer for the Adams theatre

Have you ever worked at the Festival before?
I was set designer for the Adams last season.

Where’s your home base?
Minneapolis

What’s your education/training background?
I was an art major as an undergraduate at Reed College.  I have two MFAs from the University of Washington, one in sculpture, one in technical theatre.  I was an intern for one season and then the associate set designer for two seasons at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco

What brought you to your field and what keeps you doing your craft?
I’ve wanted to be a visual artist since I was a young child. After graduate school, I was a studio artist and found theatre by working on a clay animation film.  The sets were built by technical theatre students, so I decided to give that a try. I found I liked it better than sculpture for several reasons:  1) The audience actually knows what you’re talking about.  As a sculptor, I often felt I was talking to myself.  2) I love the research part of my job; it’s a constant surprise.  3) The final product is deeper than what I did as a sculptor, because it’s associated often with some of the best literature the western tradition has to offer and because it’s the collective product of many minds who think quite differently.  4) Theatre demands I do a lot of things that I don’t quite know if I can do, but I have to figure it out. Usually, that’s a good thing. 5) To my ongoing surprise, I’ve actually managed to make a living in theatre for 35 years, which I couldn’t really do as a sculptor.

How will you spend your time off while here?
Hiking, of course.

What does the Festival Experience mean to you?
It’s very intense and very ambitious in the scale of what the Festival does. Working in the Adams poses a different set of problems than I’ve ever worked with before:  generally, shape is a major element of set design, but working in the Adams means trying to make the space look and feel different for 3 very different shows without being able to significantly alter the shape.  It’s quite challenging.

If it applies, do you have a favorite memory of working in the Adams Theatre?
I am particularly fond of the automated tumbleweed we used in Comedy of Errors last season.  It may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on stage in one of my shows - I even loved it when it broke down because it was so completely silly. Fortunately, that was absolutely in character with the show.   I had tears rolling down my cheeks a couple of times watching it make its cross.

Anthony Simone, Actor

Have you ever worked at the Festival before?
This is my 2nd year at the Festival-Last year I was Pompey inMeasure for Measure, Valentine/Officer in Twelfth Night and Ensemble in Sherlock Holmes.

Where’s your home base?
New York City, Manhatthan

What’s your education/training background?
I was originally a pre med major back in undergrad.  But after meeting my mentors Margaret and Peter Larlham by fate one day, in the midst of my Sophomore year, I decided to try double majoring.  And after graduating I took a year off before I was accepted into UC Irvine’s MFA Acting program.

What brought you to your field and what keeps you doing your craft?
As a child, I often would get lost in my imagination spending hours as an astronaut trying to explore new parts of the universe or roaming through the pride lands as Simba the mighty King. So as you can imagine I jumped at every chance to perform both at schools as well as church in plays, as I grew older I started to take more of a liking to singing and dancing.  

But, in terms of why I keep doing my craft? I would say it’s because I love the challenge(s) that every show presents as well as the things I constantly get to learn about myself and humanity as a whole.

How will you spend your time off while here?
I plan on spending time training for my first marathon - that I hope to run next year. (Wish me luck!)  I also plan to go hiking and taking in the beauty of the area. I’ll also be sleeping and trying to find my next job.

Do you have a favorite memory of working in the Adams Theatre?
I have two favorite moments with the Adams.

The first occurred the first time I walked onto the Adams stage, during rehearsal last year, and instantly felt butterflies in my stomach.  I was so moved, honored and terrified to be on the same stage as many great actors before.

The 2nd time was one night during Measure for Measure and it started to rain and the beauty of seeing the audience (who were being pelted with rain) stay still and fully invested in the show.  I walked off stage and was like - those are real troupers!

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’d want to be able to fly.  Or better yet stop time so I can finally catch up on all my Netflix videos and books I want to read.

If you had a time machine, where would you like to visit?
There are way to many but I’d love to see the first production of Shakespeare’s Cannon.

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