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Intern Profile: JJ Janikis '11.5 took theater to the streets with the San Francisco Mime Troupe

September 12, 2011

Super Senior JJ Janikis, from Scottsdale, Arizona, spent the summer as a member of the Tony Award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. The Troupe produces original political satires that comment on current issues relevant to the people of San Francisco and a global community. In addition to their "radical" style, they present their shows in parks and public spaces for FREE. Their goal is to educate and empower audiences without financial limitations. http://www.sfmt.org/workshops/Internships.php

JJ Janikis, San Francisco Mime Troupe Member for a summer

JJ, a joint Psychology/Sociology major with a minor in French, pursues his passion for theater outside the classroom as an active member of the Middlebury College Musical Players (MCMP). "While I am not a theater major, I have always been passionate about the theater arts. Most recently I participated in the Music Departments J-Term show, URINETOWN."

What does an Assistant Stage Manager Intern do?

I never really felt like I was just an intern. I documented changes to the original script and assisted the actors with line memorization. When the show opened, I helped coordinate set and costume changes and facilitate setting up the stage on our tour. For the last two months we traveled to parks and community centers all over San Francisco and the Bay Area. Once we started touring it was hysterical, setting up and striking the stage in different parks.

I also participated in the Troupe's Summer Workshop, a program offered to teach both the Troupe's acting and writing style in commedia dell'arte and melodrama. At the end of the workshop, I worked with a group to write and perform our own short political theater piece. My group created a show that commented on the current issues in the United States Education System. It was a big success!

JJ Janikis, San Francisco Mime Troupe Member for a summer

What was the importance of this internship to you?

Writing and performing my own piece of political theater was one of my most valuable experiences this summer. This was the perfect way to incorporate my observations during rehearsals and then apply them as both a writer and actor. The internship was truly a valuable hands-on learning experience that complemented my liberal arts education at Middlebury. I now know the complexities of running a small non-profit theater company and feel comfortable participating in both the technical and creative process. Plus, not everyone can say they went on tour with a professional theater company!

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