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Junior Evalin Olson plays her cello in the Mendota Heights band room. Photo by Alexis Jacoby.

Highlighting junior Evalin Olson

It’s showtime. Everything is ready to go. Suddenly, the computer crashes and the projections stop. Everyone is scrambling in the box. Who’s going to fix it? As stage manager, that’s the job of junior Evalin Olson.

Olson was the stage manager of the Minnehaha fall play, US, performed at the Guthrie Theater in November, and alongside all the playwrights and actors, was a huge part of the work that was done. She has also been playing cello in the Minnehaha orchestra since freshman year. Out of school, she participates in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony Orchestra (GTCYS).

Olson does a lot of work behind the scenes to help the school’s theater program run smoothly. Olson has been stage manager of the last two productions of the Minnehaha Players (US and Much Ado About Nothing). As stage manager, her duties include calling the lights at shows, organizing the prop and planning the entire week of rehearsals. This work is time consuming, especially during show week.

“In the last week I usually spend upwards of five hours a day [on the play],” Olson said.

When asked about Olson’s work ethic, Diane Hallberg, orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble conductor, said, “She’s willing to work for the greater good, she sees the bigger picture.”

Olson is also the student leader of the cello section in the school orchestra. The students are often sent to a practice room during class to work on parts of pieces and Olson leads these practices.

Hallberg said, “If Evalin’s in charge, then it’s going to happen. That’s really an unusual thing to be able to expect from a student but that’s the kind of person that she is.”

Olson is a small piece of the bigger puzzle. It’s all about the small things, because they make up one big thing. This same idea applies with Minnehaha’s new building, for example, without parents and other people who graciously offered their time helping set up classrooms, the building might not have been ready for students to use come the start of the school year.

Setting up chairs might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a little piece of the big picture.

“She doesn’t need a lot of recognition for what she does. She’s humble about it.” Hallberg said.

Minnehaha relies on people like Olson to help put in the hard work and time to get the little things done.

“I know it’s challenging for her but ultimately, she does a really good job,” said fellow theater comrade, junior Henry Benson. This requires efficient problem solving skills, too. If something goes wrong with play practice scheduling, someone has to do something about it.

“She (Olson) can globally look at something and know exactly what needs to be done” said Hallberg.

The work Olson and others like her do is crucial. Without the little piece, you can’t finish the puzzle.

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