The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

Q&A with Future Titan Theatre Director Dana Maier

English teacher and technical director Dana Maier is stepping in for retiring Titan Theatre director Doc Worth.
Q&A with Future Titan Theatre Director Dana Maier

Why did you decide to step up as the new director?

I had no intention of doing it initially until I was tech director last year. I kind of just liked being the tech director, I really didn’t think I would want to be a director. But then as the year went on, I kind of enjoyed working with the students being in theater. Knowing that Doc would be leaving the year after and caring enough about the department, I wanted to help it continue to be what it is and even continue to grow. No one who knows who’s going to come in, and what they’re going to do and there’s all these students that are very invested. If I ever did want to do something like this, there aren’t many opportunities like this that come by. There’s only one drama teacher per High School in the county and it’s right here at Dominion, where I want to teach anyhow. It kind of seems perfect. With both my kids in high school, it’s not like they’re young, I can actually devote the time to it. 

How have you or will you prepare to take on this role?

Well, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. Dr. Brewer asked if I was interested in it in January of 2023. At the time, I really wasn’t considering it, but then I had the rest of that year to think about it and talk to Doc about it, and talk to my husband about it, and really think about whether it is something that I really want to do? We made the official ‘Yes, I’ll do it’ last spring, about a year ago. So it more or less has been in place for a year. So since we’ve known about it, Doc and I formulated a plan where I would shadow, come to rehearsals, do all the things as I’m still the tech director, but also be more involved in the work that she does. That was before I ended up with six classes, so some of that I dial back because I have to spend so much time teaching and grading. I meet with Doc almost weekly on the show specific stuff, but also stuff about next year, some of the weird things that she has to manage that aren’t really apparent to people beyond the show itself. I’m learning as I go, I ask a lot of questions and I’m making a lot of notes of all the things that are happening. I’ve written down my vision in multiple places, and I went and I visited maybe five or six other schools over the course of this year. Second semester, I went to other high schools and spent a day observing drama teachers. I went to John Champ, Potomac Falls, Park View,  Tuscarora, Heritage and Freedom. I want to say I’m forgetting one because I always seem to forget one, but those were the biggies.

Have you decided on next year’s productions? If so, what are they and why did you choose them?

We’re gonna do Clue in the fall and we’re going to do Music Man for the musical in the spring. And then the winter will be the one act shows, and those are to be decided so they’re just little short, one act plays 20 to 30 minutes apiece. I got to read those and decide on those over the summer. But Clue, I was looking at earlier in the year, I just thought it would be a fun, big draw. I’m familiar with it so I feel confident that we can do that one. Music Man is another musical that I’m just really familiar with. I wanted shows that I was familiar with. I’m kind of like, remembering how to direct all over again, which I really haven’t done since college.I’m confident we’ll be able to do it. So that’s what influenced the shows and then the One Acts are kind of nice, because it’ll give us a bit of a break. They’ll be lighter, easier, and simpler during the winter. So we’ll have kind of a rest in between the fall and spring. They’re each like 20 to 30 minutes apiece, I’ll do three, so it still feels like a full night show. But it’s three separate little shows. 

What goals do you have for your first year directing? What kind of changes do you want to make in the theatre department, If any? 

Well, to survive. Trying to build a positive culture within the theatre department. I’ve already established officers for next year. We’re going to have more social events among the theater so that the culture is building, and that will support the shows. The shows aren’t the only things supporting the culture, which sometimes can be a little problematic. I don’t want to say that maybe it’s not generalized so much. Some of that has been some issues with some big personalities this past year. I’m thinking that building more of a culture outside of the shows, might help alleviate and eliminate some of that. [That way] there’s more of a team, as a department, rather than a team within the show, [because] sometimes that team kind of can break down and individuals really just are in for it themselves. Something that has been really hammered on by the other teachers and the other schools that have really big programs is that the culture of the department does a good job supporting the shows. That’s a reason they probably have 100 students in their department, they’ve grown almost twice the size of us. They’re bigger schools too but the hope is that students take more ownership of that culture. That sort of positive culture, and promoting the good of the group and teamwork is something that I want them to be able to do and manage themselves to.

What message do you have for the titan theatre community?

I’ve talked to them directly so much already, but I’m really excited about next year. I already planned out the calendar so everything is there for them. I really want to stick to the plans that I have to make it a really good year, especially for the seniors who this is going to be a big change for. They will have had three years with Doc, if they’ve been in the program that long. I’ve been with them for two years but not as director so they are used to Doc as the leader. It’s going to be a huge change for them to make that shift and I want to make that as positive an experience for them as I can.

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Alla Abdelhalim
Alla Abdelhalim, Assistant Editor
Alla Abdelhalim is an Assistant Editor currently serving her second year writing for DHS Press. Alla is a senior that has been involved with the journalism program since her freshman year. Along with Newspaper, she is also in her third year of photojournalism and is excited to move on to higher education next year.

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