One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview.
Our latest Spotlight Member is Erika Trahan. Erika teaches English and Speech, along with theatre, and is the troupe director of Troupe 6981 at Kaplan High School in Kaplan, Louisiana. Erika regularly advises other community members on a variety of topics, including solving tech issues, classroom management and show selection. If you need help with any of these, just ask!
Why do you believe theatre is important?
Erika: Theatre has the ability to transform people (literally and figuratively). I recently had a student in my class with severe social anxiety. I didn't know much about this student before entering my class. I kept hearing that she had this, but I wasn't seeing it in my classroom. When we reached our Improvisation unit, this student excelled. They were witty, funny and the students loved every time she went up. Slowly, her confidence grew and I began to hear stories about how she was "before." I couldn't believe it was the same person. Her mom has thanked me numerous times for my hand in helping her. I have told her that I think it was the art form. She was able to be in a safe place and become her true self, which permeated to the rest of her life.
Law and Order- Nursery Rhyme Unit
What is your greatest challenge?
Erika: Our greatest challenge at our school is that we have NO theatre performance space. It amazes me every year what we can pull off without a true stage to work with. We have to assemble makeshift lighting, sound, curtains, etc to do any performance. It truly is a task to get everything set up even for a simple One Act. Also, for my students and I to have performance time/space, we have to schedule around many different organizations. Thankfully, most of my faculty understands this and are willing to help us out when needed. We recently had a Senior directed night and our basketball team moved their practice to our middle school so that we could have the gym for the afternoon. I was extremely thankful that they were willing to do this for us.
What is your favorite musical (or play)?
Erika: Is this ever a loaded question! I tend to enjoy something from every show I see, even if I don't always enjoy it as a whole. My favorite classic show would have to be GREASE. My friends and I grew up with this show and I have always loved it. This past summer I had the privilege of seeing Ben Platt in DEAR EVAN HANSEN. What he did on that stage was superhuman. He earned the HECK out of that Tony Award!
The Wedding from Hell- Mystery
If you could have a different career, what would you choose?
Erika: I'm not really sure, but I know I would have to deal with people. I love travel and organizing travel, so maybe something dealing with that.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of theatre?
Erika: I worked at movie theatre for almost ten years! So I am definitely a movie buff! If I'm not doing something for school, I am probably watching a movie or two at our local movie theatre. I am also an avid reader who will read pretty much anything that is a great story.
The Little Mermaid Jr.
What is something we would be surprised to learn about you?
Erika: I am 4'9." Short and sweet!
If you enjoyed Erika’s interview as much as I did, add her as a contact in the Community.
Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me their name and why at email@example.com. Want to read more Community Spotlights? You can find them here.