AUBURN – Adam Klein stood in the basement of the former Great Falls School scrubbing and painting a long, empty room.
It’s a place no Community Little Theatre ticket-buyer will ever see. Klein is unsure how the basement room, once a boy’s locker room, will be used.
But the theater company – still growing after 67 years – needs the space. It may be a wardrobe area, a rehearsal space or a storage room.
“I look at the theater as a whole,” said Klein, hired June 11 as the theater’s first-ever production manager.
Help a single piece and you help it all.
“That’s what you do in community theater,” he said. Some people spend years working behind the scenes, volunteering countless hours and getting little recognition, he said.
He wants to change that and is mulling over ways of saying thanks. One way is by picking up some of the drudge work himself, he said.
Another is trying to examine the theater from a new perspective.
“I have fresh eyes,” he said.
Klein, 37, came to Lewiston-Auburn in 2004, after spending several years in the Pacific Northwest, earning a theater degree from the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
When he enrolled, Klein planned to be a teacher, but he was seduced by the theater’s ability to recreate life on stage.
He quickly gave up on acting – “I was too self-conscious on stage” – and turned his attention to behind-the-scenes duties, including lighting and set construction. He even apprenticed with a cabinet-maker for a year to improve his carpentry.
In 2003, he picked up an internship at the Portland Stage Company and in 2004, he went to work for The Public Theatre in Lewiston as its technical director, working to make the drawings of set designers come to life.
Three years later, when Community Little Theatre decided to create the production manager’s position, Klein went after it.
In part, it was a nod to his discarded plan to be a teacher.
“I like the idea that this is a school for the community,” he said.
People really can walk off the street and go to work in a CLT production that may include both senior citizens and children, all working together, he said.
Among the ideas that he is working on is creating a series of senior readings, in which folks gather on stage for play-reading. A summer theater camp is already in the works for next summer.
And he has more ideas, though he shies away from the spotlight.
“I like spreading out the round table,” he said. “The best thing about theater is that it is collaborative.”