Q&A: Scenic design fellow Samuel Keamy-Minor wants to use more color in his work to expand his creative DNA

Who: Samuel Keamy-Minor, 24, scenic design fellow.

This summer, he has assisted the scenic designer on all three mainstage plays and taken the lead on the New Play Workshops.

Sam Keamy-Minor

Keamy-Minor said that although he loves working with color, most of his set designs are monochromatic due to his greater interest in shape and form. While a solid background is helpful to make dancers pop on stage, Keamy-Minor said he wants to use more color in his work going forward.

“There’s a choreographer named Twyla Tharp, and she talks about creative DNA and those things that are just there, underlying, that define how you think about your thing,” Keamy-Minor said. “That might be one of the things that’s resting there that I’m not trying to break and get rid of.”

Where he’s from: For his undergraduate degree, Keamy-Minor studied geology at Brown University. He currently studies at University of California, San Diego alongside CTC’s lighting design fellow Mextly Almeda.

“Mextly knew she was coming for a couple weeks, and then I got the offer, which made it a lot easier to think about saying yes,” Keamy-Minor said.

First theatrical memory: Keamy-Minor fell in love with scenic design during his first semester of college.

“I just loved the class because it was an opportunity to think really analytically about plays and storytelling and also be crafty and buildy,” he said.

Later, Keamy-Minor was asked if he wanted to design for a nearby black box theater. He took a chance and accepted the job.

“It’s one of those things in this industry where once people know you can do something and will put in the time for it, it just kept happening,” he said. “In my sophomore year, I designed and built five pieces for this space and loved it, and then eventually decided it was what I should do for real and not just as a side gig.”

Proudest design moment: Near the end of his undergraduate experience, Keamy-Minor designed a dance piece called “Interbeing,” which involved a giant foam machine.

“It was a culmination of a bunch of the things that I was really interested in,” he said. “I was really interested in audiences and how you arrange audiences, and I was really interested in immersion and interactivity and material.”

What he’s watching: Keamy-Minor recently watched “Suspiria,” a horror movie with blood that he said looked like “ fluorescent orange paint.”

Dream superpower: Keamy-Minor wishes he could speak and read any language. He said Lebanese would help him reconnect with his mother’s side of the family, while Spanish would be particularly helpful to understand the Calderón play he is working on soon.

“I love a bunch of Russian opera and stories,” he said. “Opera in general would be awesome to understand in any language. I feel like you’d be able to access a lot of things more honestly.”

Why Chautauqua: Keamy-Minor said he came to CTC to branch out and learn from designers who were not members of his school’s faculty. He liked that CTC gave him hands-on experience and an up-close look at the process of other scenic designers

“It was awesome that here I got to assist these great people and then also tackle some design work,” he said. “I didn’t understand how amazing or uplifting of a place it was, but enough of that was evident even as I was learning about (Chautauqua) that it seemed like a fun place to be.”

Tags : Chautauqua Theater CompanySamuel Keamy-MinorScenic design fellow

The author Kevin C. Vestal

Kevin Vestal is from Westerville, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism and professional writing with a minor in theater. Last summer, he interned for The Florence Newspaper in Italy, and he is excited to cover Chautauqua Theater Company and the Family Entertainment Series for the Daily. An avid thespian, Kevin recently performed on stage in Tartuffe and also has an irrational fear of wrists.