ACUMEN Spring 2022

18 ACUMEN • SPRING 2022 Philadelphia and New York, the university is in an excellent location for Katakalos to work professionally and to include her students in the process as much as she can. “Theatre is a practice. You can learn about it all you want in a classroom, but you really have to practice it to understand it. Having them accompany me or shadow me and giving them as much direct experience as possible is what I find is best for my students,” says Katakalos, who has taken undergraduates to productions in far locales such as San Francisco and Singapore. Students gain an insider’s perspective and can participate in tasks such as dressing the set, which is when the last artistic touches are added to the stage before technical rehearsal. “Professor Katakalos took me to the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia to gain insight on how a professional, award-winning theatre mounts a new production. I got to sit in on a technical rehearsal for My General Tubman. It was great to see how professional actors, directors and designers collaborate so closely to produce a brand-new piece of work,” says Travis Martinez ’21, who earned a Bachelor of Science in integrated engineering and humanities in the IDEAS (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences) program in May and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in December. Martinez was hired professionally in fall 2021 by the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, Texas, as Katakalos’ associate scenic designer for the play Trouble in Mind. He is working remotely to aid in research, drafting, scale model production and design. As the play is opening in January 2023, he will be working as a theatre consultant with the design firm Arup in New York. Applauded for her work both in teaching and in the profession, Katakalos was recognized on an international scale by being one of 20 featured designers selected by peers to represent the United States at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in 2019. Held every four years, the Prague Quadrennial identifies the best of design for performance, scenography and theatre architecture worldwide. “The Prague Quadrennial is something that I’ve aspired to be part of for most of my career. It was incredible to be recognized. It’s a very rare occurrence in a person’s career,” she says. With deep professional ties in California, Katakalos also ideates programming as the artistin-residence at the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, an alliance between the university and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco. She is also a mentor for the Posse program, Lehigh’s partnership with The Posse Foundation to expand educational opportunities for talented high school students in the Bay Area to attend the university. Melpomene Katakalos in her office. Travis Martinez’s set design for Smart People won second place in scenic design at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) 71st annual meeting in 2020. DOUGLAS BENEDICT, CHRISTA NEU