Sandy Zhao ’23 – Set Design at Theater Mu

What are you doing in the performing arts outside Macalester?
My internship site was with Theater Mu and I participated in set design for their production Today Is My Birthday. 

How did you come across this internship?
My Professor Mina Kinukawa was on this project as well as their set designer, so she was the person and the mentor for me through this internship. 

What did you love about this internship?
What I really enjoy about this internship is the opportunity to observe how professionals interact on set. Through my learning process at Mac, I am constantly learning new theories and creating new conceptual ideas. The opportunity to participate in this product helps to integrate theories with practice. Moreover, observing how people interact on set really prepares students for their future practice in this field and maybe their career development. 

On the other hand, everyone in the crew is very encouraging and inspiring. They all have an open mind and are willing to accept interesting ideas and designs. The interaction with other designers is spirit-lifting and confidence-instigating. I am very grateful for being able to participate in this project.

I showed up on my first day with Theater Mu for paper tech, the very necessary but not exactly… scintillating process of coordinating every single sound, lighting, and run cue in the script. I was ready to learn some valuable tricks of the trade, but little did I expect a question about sound cue #39 to turn into a moving, thoughtful discussion about cultural exploitation and the intricacies of indigenous representations onstage. There is so much good theater being created in the Twin Cities, and it’s being created by smart people who are thinking hard about the issues of privilege and power that shape our world. Being part of that process is inspiring.

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