March 27, 2000
It's always interesting how people find their passions in life.
For some individuals, the discovery process is lengthy, filled with much soul-searching and followed by a series of trial and error attempts. Others seem to stumble upon their passions, almost falling upon them accidentally.
Local Bothell resident Pam Trefethen found her niche in life recently when she offered to volunteer with the Woodinville Repertory Theatre. Her story begins last year, when she first met Peg Phillips, Artistic Director of the Woodinville Rep, at the Woodinville Café.
Trefethen, a waitress at the restaurant, asked Phillips for her autograph to give to a friend. After talking to the well-known television actress and learning about the newly-formed theatre company, Trefethen offered to help out with the first production, I Hate Hamlet.
Years ago, while attending high school in Pasco, she had been involved in the Thespians and did a bit of acting in the school's plays. Trefethen had enjoyed the experience and had always had good memories of it; however, since high school, she had not done any more theater work.
The Rep had enough help for its first show, so Trefethen did not become involved with the company at that time. She did continue to see Phillips at the Woodinville Café, and when she heard about the second production, Death Trap, she decided to offer to help again.
"I thought it might be fun to work around a theater again," explains Trefethen. "I didn't know what I could do, but I was willing to be available if they needed a 'gopher' or someone to help in the back. Peg told me that they needed someone to help the costume designer, so I said, 'Sure.' Basically, what I did was to help measure the actors for their costumes, haul things around, and then during the run of the play, I had to wash the costumes and iron them for each performance."
Trefethen put in many long days as she went from her restaurant job in the mornings to the theater in the evenings and then home to wash and iron costumes. She says, "It was definitely a stretch for me in terms of my endurance, but it was fun to be involved with the people and the excitement of putting on a show."
With the Rep's third production, Bell, Book and Candle, Trefethen was given the assignment of Props Mistress. She had never done this type of work before, but took it on with enthusiasm, along with the help of the set designer, who steered in her in the right directions.
"I learned to hunt thrift stores, ask people for donations of their items, and basically do the beg-and-borrow thing when it came to getting what I needed," explains Trefethen. "My budget was $300, so I really needed to be creative and find things that I could adapt to fit the situation. I discovered that it brought out my creativity, which totally surprised me, because I didn't think I had any creativity in me. I also found that I could do the job and do it well. It was fun and a great challenge at the same time."
For the company's most recent production, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Trefethen made a manger out of old wood, created shepherd crooks from her father's bean poles, found a doll to represent Baby Jesus, and collected over fifty assorted props for the show. She is certain that she has found her passion in life and now wishes to return to college to get a degree in theater arts.
"I'm hoping to study at the UW," says Trefethen. "I want to get the necessary background and then find a job in the field. Doing this kind of work fulfills me and satisfies me in so many ways."
The Woodinville Rep's spring production, Brighton Beach Memoirs, opens April 14th at Inglemoor High School. Trefethen is the Props Mistress for the show and has been busy gathering the many items required for the set. The task is even more challenging than before, as the show takes place in the 1930s, which means that all the furniture and props must simulate this period of time.
"I have put in about ten hours a week trying to locate things, and when the production actually moves to the set for rehearsals, I will be working more like twenty hours a week," comments Trefethen. "Once the show opens, I will be there for all the performances. It's like having two full-time jobs, but it's worth it! The people are great and the support is wonderful. There's a real bond that develops in a theater production and I feel a part of something special."
For tickets to Brighton Beach Memoirs, call 425-481-8502.