There are many talented students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point who are doing incredible work. One of these students is Alesha Hollatz, who is the scenic designer for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of Spamalot.
Hollatz is a fifth-year student at UWSP. She is double majoring in theatre design and technology and arts management.
Hollatz has worked as the scenic designer on multiple shows for the theatre program. The first show she designed was Dogfight in spring of 2016. In fall of 2016, she designed Unnecessary Farce. This year, she is designing two more shows.
“This year in spring, I did Blood Wedding, and now I’m working on Spamalot which will be my fourth and final design because I’ll be going on externship next semester,” Hollatz said.
Someone not involved with theatre may not know what scenic designers are and what they do.
“What a scenic designer does is talk to the director, and the director gives us a concept for the show. For Spamalot, we really want to play homage to the movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ We are really trying to stick to the styles of the cartoons of the movie and different things like that. So, that is the style he pitched to me and then I go off with the script and I read through it and decide what kind of scenery elements are needed for the show. I come up with research and a couple sketches then go back to the director and we just kind of build up that way,” Hollatz said.
The scenic designer draws everything out to scale, and the drawings are then handed off to the technical director who oversees the building of those sets.
“I don’t do the building or the painting; I just design it then pass it off. All of the design aspects are all me. Pretty much all of the stuff I create is so that everyone else knows what it is going to look like and how to create it,” Hollatz said.
Designing a show is an incredibly difficult and stressful process, but Hollatz truly loves the art of theatre.
“Originally, I was really interested in the visual arts in high school and it was the end of my sophomore year that I got involved in theatre. One of my good friends told me I should try doing tech for the shows. I ended up going to set construction where we built the scenery, and I really liked it because it combined the love I had gathered for theatre and the love I had since I was a child for visual art. Within my junior and senior year, I ended up doing sixteen shows through volunteering for the Oconomowoc Arts Center, the Theatre on Main and high school shows,” Hollatz said.
Spamalot opens on Friday, Nov. 10. It will be Alesha Hollatz’ last show at UWSP.