LYNDEN — A resident of Bellingham, Teri Grimes recently served as director of the Claire Theater’s production of ‘Proof.’ By serving, Grimes generally spends about 200 hours in pre-production as she plans for a play.
When Grimes is directing a musical, it’s “more like five hundred hours of pre-production planning.”
“Part of that planning is analyzing the play and staging the show on paper, recruiting the crew of volunteers who will be responsible for all the aspects of putting on a show, setting up the rehearsal calendar, and so on,” Grimes said. With the Lynden Performing Arts Guild board, “we advertise the auditions and publicize the show.”
Then, she holds open auditions, and casts the play.
“Once cast, I generally rehearse five evenings a week. I block the play (meaning I stage all the movement), I coach the actors on characterization, physicality and vocals,” Grimes said. “I work with them to bring forth whatever vision I have about the play and the characters in it.”
Grimes also helps with set building and painting, hanging lights, and scoring props.
“I work with the crews on the days we don’t have rehearsal,” Grimes said. “At LPAG, that’s Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. As we progress, I meet with the crew to determine light and sound cues, and other technical aspects of putting on a show, and I work with the actors on pace, timing and technique as they get used to being in costume, working under the lights and sound effects and so on.”
Then … opening night.
With a master’s degree in theatre with emphasis in both acting and directing, Grimes has acted since the late ‘70s, and has directed plays since the early ‘80s.
Good thing she wrote and directed her first play at age 8.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a nurse,” Grimes said. “(But) I think my destiny was already spelled out. In high school, I wanted to be either a writer or an actress.”
Lynden Tribune: What do you like most about your job?
Teri Grimes: “I think the biggest thrill about directing is seeing my vision of what the play should be come to life. Creativity comes in many forms, I suppose. I love working with actors and helping them bring a character to life.”
Tribune: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Grimes: When I’m not working (the pandemic was awful for me ... an unapologetic workaholic), I’m reading, doing puzzles, working in my flower garden, lunching with friends, or playing with my two cats. I also try to spend time with my son and his family (I have two beautiful grandchildren) in Seattle.
Tribune: Which around-the-house task is your least favorite?
Grimes: I hate vacuuming.
Tribune: What is your favorite food?
Grimes: My favorite food? Hmmm ... I love a good cheeseburger, and anything with chocolate, of course.
Tribune: What music do you have in your vehicle right now?
Grimes: I listen to soft rock in the car. Driving to and from Lynden, I count the number of songs that play on the radio between my door and the door of the theatre.
Tribune: What is your favorite hobby or recreation?
Grimes: Fortunately (or unfortunately) my hobby is also my career. Acting or directing ... it’s what I do.
Tribune: What is your favorite sports team?
Grimes: The Seahawks, of course.
Tribune: What’s the biggest thing on your bucket list?
Grimes: I’d like to go to Italy and travel the Mediterranean. I’d also like to own five acres in the county and have a cat farm. I’m serious about the cat farm ... rescue all the kitties.
Tribune: Tell us something about you that very few people know.
Grimes: People don’t know that I have absolutely no sense of direction. None. I cannot distinguish left from right, and anything in front of me is north. I’ve spent a lifetime using a variety of techniques to keep from getting lost.
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