September 21, 2023

Dear editor . . . A scene shop with no equipment to build scenes

This archived article was written by: Dr. Corey Ewan

Dear editor,
I want it understood before you read this that there are two factors essential to understanding this op-ed. One, I love the CIB. I love having heat for the first time in 12 years and consistent air conditioning. I even like the design. Two, I am the faculty malcontent, I speak up when no one else does and more often than not when no one actually should speak up. Remember this aspect of this writer’s background.
With any relationship, there are some personality traits or quirks that arise that we either choose to overlook, or to make a change like using Listerine if someone suffers from chronic halitosis, for example. Some of the CIB quirks include warping and bubbling wood slats in the entryway to the Peterson Theater, electrical outlets on the second level grid in the theatre instead of on the floor where needed, washers and dryers with unchangeable settings, the ticket booth wood counter is cracked and separating, plus missing ordered speakers and screens in the wrong rooms.
The new theater scene shop is great, but no equipment to build anything with. Was the expectation to use the equipment we had purchased from the high school in 2000, [they bought in 1963]? We can live with this, because that is the mentality seemingly prevalent, “let’s just live with it, it’s what we do.” It is what we do well, so well that any chance to improve or say what we feel is often shunted to the back of any discussion or simply left unspoken because of the futility of speaking to deaf ears.
I could/should remain silent and let sleeping dogs lie; I am weary of this approach. Apathy is like a virulent disease and 99 percent contagious. I love this school, am proud of its soon to be defunct history, its faculty and staff. But too often the implication is, “shut up and be grateful!” I am both for the CIB and my job. The theater is magnificent, the rehearsal/acting lab is perfect, the costume shop large with dressing rooms and new sewing machines and surgers, an office the interior designer hates and room 101 is a great for classroom for film, despite the box that keeps the west door open. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for this little school.
There are many things I wish I had mentioned earlier in discussions about the building. I know there were questions left unasked that hadn’t been thought of and answers never fully realized. I admit to being overwhelmed with the plans and potential. If I could go back in time, I would be sure that many things would be brought up and dealt with. Many of these came after the building was built and we were in it.
I still think of it as Disneyland in 1955, it looked great, but a lot of the rides just didn’t work. If and when I mention these quirks to individualist seems as if their eyes glaze over and a look of incredulity comes across their faces and they respond, “don’t you like the building, or but, isn’t it beautiful,” as if to offer any criticism is tantamount to insulting their mothers.
Again, the building is beautiful. Do I like it? Yes! It is a little sterile, cold and uninviting, (like some relationships, or ghost towns) but we can work to warm it up.
We miss some things as we set up house, and began our relationship. I am looking for commitment and a long-term relationship. So I am working on my part to accept and work with some of the quirks, go Listerine! I just want the ones that I can’t live with made better.
Dr. Corey Ewan

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