Meet the Member: Erin Donovan

Erin Donovan (left) posing with Alana Smith, writer of 'Jacks and the Fourth Wall'

Erin Donovan (left) posing with Alana Smith, writer of 'Jacks and the Fourth Wall'

For our first “Meet the Member” section of our newsletter, we thought we would interview Erin Donovan, who recently directed SPARE Production’s first ever straight play, Jacks and the Fourth Wall.

Donovan is a charter member and founder of SPARE Productions. She serves on the Board of
Directors and currently is our secretary, but that’s not all she does for SPARE! Donovan also heads our Member Relation committee, making sure our members are safe and can keep  involved! She recently headed the planning of SPARE’s annual Holiday Party that took place in December, and she is always available to talk to in person or through the MRC’s google form. 

Most recently, Donovan has been involved with our membership with her direction of Jacks.
Donovan brought the straight play written by Alanna Smith to the board last season, and her passion for a clever jester and his witty princess really won over the other members. “After being in the show [at SUNY Geneseo], my brain entertained the possibility of directing the show,” Donovan told us. “I wasn't confident enough that I could sell the show to the Board yet, though. SPARE had never done and play, I personally wasn't as confident with my directing ability.” This all changed for Donovan, however, when she directed several musical numbers in Geneseo’s Musical Theater Club. Her confidence grew. Then, after choreographing for SPARE’s The Drowsy Chaperone, Donovan discovered she was ready to direct.

“I asked Alanna Smith in June if she would be willing to lend out Jacks once more, and she
heartily agreed,” Donovan said. But then an interesting predicament arose. When Donovan presented this amazing show to the Board, she would be faced with a deciscion if the Board chose it. In the Geneseo production, Donovan played Queen Belinda, but would she want to do it over again? “In examining the show, I realized that I didn't want to act in it again. I didn't see myself being part of this show; I realized I wanted to create a new world in Jacks and the Fourth Wall, not try to rearrange one around myself. I wanted to test my creative and teaching skills, and I am glad I did.”

Donovan certainly made the right choice. Her production of Jacks was an amazing success with the company and the fans alike. “I loved every minute of it. From forming the production team, to auditions, to tech week, all the way to the closing curtain, the entire production was a hit” Donovan said. 

When asked about her favorite parts of the production, Donovan had a lot to say, but she did
comment on some of her favorite moments. “Two of my favorite scenes to watch unfold were the two different moments in Jacks' bedroom, one between Wallace and Raina and the other between Raina and Jacks. Marisa Valent's Raina was so passionately optimistic about getting out of her own world that when she talks to Wallace about not playing a role in the castle or ‘not being anything in particular’, it just seemed to come from a place that Valent found all on her own, which made the entire scene very endearing, very meaningful. The other moment I greatly enjoyed is when Jacks' tries to pull Raina through the Fourth Wall the first time. Brian Ives and Valent had such chemistry that they worked on, and this moment for me was so important to convey in direction and for the overall message of the show. I really wanted people to see how much Jacks wanted Raina to get out of the show, and how much Raina wanted to leave, but just seemed to be stuck. Ives and Valent pulled it off perfectly by finding the right amount of passion and gave the audience this need to see these characters have a happy ending.”

Now that Jacks is over, though, Donovan isn’t going to stop moving forward. “My future plans include finishing up my degree at SUNY Geneseo and graduating in May” Donovan told us. She plans to start her job search in the summer, but “I also am in hopes to spend some time interning at Disney World in the coming fall”. What's next for SPARE Productions though? “There are many goals that I personally have for the company… I don't think I'm very good at predicting the future so I won't say for sure, but I definitely hope to see SPARE's reputation continue to grow in the community, publicly and  artistically.”