Stephanie Rodemann ’02 returns to Baltimore this January as the technical director and head carpenter of iD, an international show performed by Montreal-based circus troupe Cirque Eloize. Sound exciting? We thought so, and we took a moment to ask Rodemann a bit about herself, iD, and how she ended up with such a cool job.
iD opens in Baltimore January 5 at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric. Tell us about it.
iD explores the vibrancy of city life through acrobatic and musical performance. It’s a circus that blends rock and hip-hop with a West Side Story line, showcasing acrobatics, contortion, in-line skating, dance, a Cyr wheel, and a one-of-a-kind video trampowall.
What does a technical director do?
We travel with our own set but rely on the theatre to provide the lights, sound, masking and crew. Before the show hits theaters, we work through months of pre-production details to coordinate that all is provided. My responsibility is to make sure everything comes together in situations where the people and locations are always changing. I’m a multi-tasker so I’m not a one-job person. Being a technical director caters to my interests because I like orchestrating a show’s many moving parts and seeing the big picture. We travel all over the world, and I travel with each show.
This sounds very different from a traditional three-ring circus. Is it?
The movement of ‘new circus’ has been going on for about 30 years. It’s the idea of incorporating traditional circus styles, from aerial numbers to acrobatics, into theatrical settings that convey a story or a theme. We rely heavily on the overall aesthetic impact, original music, and the amazing abilities of the acrobats to tell a story for the audience.
You were a theatre major at Goucher. How did you end up working with set design?
My dad does a lot of carpentry, so I’ve always understood a bit about building things. I also studied studio art. While I was a student, there was a student-job opening through the theatre department at the job fair; I ended up helping out behind the scenes and instantly fell in love with that world. My mentor, Tom Cole, guided me through many projects. I combined what I studied in photo and sculpture and applied it to theater, lighting, and set design. It translated perfectly.
What’s the most inspiring place your job has taken you?
There are so many places that have left an imprint, but Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Russia really stuck with me. In these countries, the conditions for production aren’t as sophisticated. They don’t have the budget or facilities that places like France or the U.S. do, but they work wonders with the bare minimum. Notwithstanding, in all the countries we have performed, the warmth they have received us with, and the love of the work we have shared, has been fantastic.
Any advice for aspiring theatre majors?
Make a good name for yourself. Also, have high standards– if you hold yourself to them, people will notice and one job will always lead to another.
Traveling the world is thrilling, but after several years on the road, I’m feeling ready to put down some roots. My dream right now is to back to school to get an MFA and teach theatre.
What do you miss most about Goucher?
iD is directed by Jeannot Painchaud. It runs in Baltimore on January 5 and 6 at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric.