Behind the scenes: Senior leads theatre set painting

One of the most important aspects of a live theatrical performance is making sure that the set stands out and fits the tone of the production.  Once the set is designed, it is another person’s job to bring it to life through color. In the McNicholas High School theatre, Erin Callahan isthat person.

Callahan has been painting as long as she can remember. “My mom was always kind of creative…my grandma was a really great artist, and we have a bunch of her paintings hanging around our house, and so that’s how I wanted to really get started with acrylic painting,” Callahan said. “I kind of modelled my style after her.”

Callahan initially started out assisting with painting in the theatre, but Director Teresa De Zarn soon asked her to be head of painting.

“Erin was just so responsible.  We could count on her.  So I asked her to be the head of painting from then on,” De Zarn said. “She creates the painting schedule. She does a lot of the finer painting…she comes in and does all the really artistic stuff, aging things, and giving things depth.”

Callahan has had several other students working with her on the sets, all from various grades.  Senior Isabelle Bowling described her time working with Callahan as “a calming experience.”

“I think her talent and creativity have led to beautiful sets which are essential in truly bringing each show to life.  She works with patience, attention to detail, and kindness. She takes the time to welcome new people in, teach them, and assign duties.  She is organized, and she is lively, and very, very creative,” Bowling said.

Callahan plans to work on the set for the next two shows of the 2019-2020 school year. “It’s gonna be really cool…I grew up on this movie, so I’m going to be expressing my childhood on the walls…it’s going to be a good time,” Callahan said.

Callahan most recently worked on the set for The Diary of Anne Frank.  “She gives me a great piece of mind that our set is going to be exactly what we need it to be,” De Zarn said.

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