When you arrive at Bay City Players for a show, one of the first things you do is check out the video in the lobby for a little preview of who’s in the show and what it looks like. We are grateful to have a talent like Melissa Martin create these photos for us, as a preview and as a memory of each show.
How and why does she do it? Melissa says she is a self-taught photographer, and while she was never into theater as a kid, she enjoys being around it. Photography has always been a hobby; in 2006 she took some Christmas photos of her children, and friends and co-workers started asking her to photograph their kids, even their weddings. She says she must have taken out every library book on photography to improve her skills!
Melissa’s daughter Amanda is the stage-struck one who has been in more than 25 plays at area high schools and in YouTheater at Players. When Amanda was in “The Jungle Book” at Players in 2016, Melissa came in to do photos of the show. Happily, we’ve benefited from her skill ever since!
Melissa’s routine to photograph a show is to come in on the last Tuesday of rehearsal, right before opening night. She comes in about 30 minutes early to check on the set, perhaps talk to the director, and get an idea of cast size. During the rehearsal she takes 400-500 shots! “I want everybody to have a picture,” she says. If it’s a big cast she will sometimes wander backstage and ask if she can take some candid shots there as well.
Then it’s a day of editing, cutting the number of photos down to two or three hundred. These are copied to discs or thumb drives to go into Players’ archives. A posed group shot is given to all cast and crew. The slide show is usually about 100 pictures, to showcase the actors and the play without giving the whole story away.
So when you enjoy the slideshow or cast photos, thank Melissa for contributing her time and talents to this piece of the Bay City Players’ experience!
Author: Elizabeth Dewey
Homepage Image: Jungle Book (Dec. 2016)