Nate Walczyk, a senior, has been involved in theater since he was in seventh grade. Now, serving as the president of the theater department, Walczyk has narrowed his interest in theater to his true passion, lighting design.
“Nathan Perk, a former student, asked me to assist him with the lighting for the fall play my freshman year. Then, for the musical that year, I was a spotlight operator. I immediately fell in love with lighting,” Walczyk said.
For Walczyk, lighting is much more than putting lights on a stage, it is his way of expression, and his love.
“I really like putting artistic meaning behind my designs. For me it’s a lot more than just putting color on stage,” Walczyk said.
That love for lighting translated into the numerous shows he designed.
"My favorite design I have done is tied between my design for ‘Step in Time,’ a song in ‘Mary Poppins,’ and a design I recently did for a Jazz Band performance. For ‘Step in Time’, the lighting was really mysterious and spooky at the beginning. I had smoke rolling on stage, and I made all of the chimney sweeps look like shadows. Then, when it became less spooky, I added more light to transform the scene completely. For the Jazz Band performance, the audience sat on stage, and the band played on the right side of the stage. I gave the audience mood lighting and lit the fly lines behind them, creating a sleek and industrial look. Both of these designs were fun to play around with, and I loved doing them,” Walczyk said.
Walczyk has been accepted into Webster University in St. Louis Missouri, where he plans to study lighting design, a major in which only four students are accepted into annually at Webster University.
“‘Rabbit Hole,’ the fall play my junior year, was the show that caused me to realize lighting design was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I am extremely excited to attend Webster University and follow my dreams,” Walczyk said.
Light design is not always easy, and Walczyk, although a very skilled designer, still finds designing to be difficult at times.
“For me, the hardest part of designing a show is visualization. Sometimes it can be really hard to visualize a design for a show without a set. Another thing I find difficult is getting the ball rolling. There are times when I read a show for the first time, and I have absolutely no ideas. I reread the show and research it to get ideas that I can work with and modify for the perfect design,” Walczyk said.
Lighting, although challenging, is possible with a positive mindset and work ethic.
“There will be many times when things just don’t work, and if you give up on an idea right away then you could be missing out on something amazing. Do not avoid a technique that you do not know how to do. Figure out how to do it and make it happen,” Walczyk said.
To view Walczyk’s work, attend the musical,“Crazy For You” being performed on April, 7-10 p.m.