All of this requires an aptitude for detail, and his comes naturally—his father is a gifted wood craftsman and his grandfather was a sign painter in the years before pre-printed or pre-programmed art adorned things such as billboards, buildings or trucks.
For 28 years at SCR—and through more than 300 productions—Gaddis has put his natural talent and skills to work.
“I’m always learning and getting to work with a variety of materials such as wood, foam, steel, paint, plastic, plumbing, electrical and water for such things as rain,” he says. “I also fill in the gaps wherever needed to keep things moving. The attention that we pay to all of these details means that the quality of what we do is very good.”
His interest in the technical side of theatre started early—in high school—with productions such as My Fair Lady and Flowers for Algernon. He always has been drawn to the look of the sets. His first professional production, Dracula at the Ahmanson Theatre, caught his attention because of its specific style: done in black and white, except for a red rose and a few other small red elements.
|SCR's 1987 production of Glengarry Glen Ross with Richard Doyle,|
Don Took and Hal Landon Jr.
“Theatre has a certain quality that reflects the human condition and it’s done in a way that is easy for people to relate to,” he says. “Not many other things can do it that well.”
After joining the SCR staff, Gaddis’ first production was Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet (1987). He counts a number of productions as memorable, including:
- A Christmas Carol (1987-now): “I’m most proud of this production; I think it’s one of the best shows we do.”
- Pirates by Mark W. Lee (1991): “It’s my favorite—the set looked like the back of a ship.”
- The Ballad of Yachiyo by Philip Kan Gotanda (1996): “The style, which used puppetry, was unique and beautiful to watch.”
- Theatre for Young Audiences series: “These shows are a good way for kids and their families to have an exposure to theatre. I hope they continue coming to see plays as they grow up, and become our next generation of audiences.”
Through the years, the variety of work and creativity have kept things interesting for Gaddis, along with the “numerous friendships and the opportunity to work with great designers.”