YAMO directors enhance aspects of the show

Lauren Grill, Staff Writer

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In its 62nd year, YAMO is a beloved, long-standing Evanston tradition. A variety show focused around Evanston culture, YAMO uniquely combines all aspects of the performing arts into one show. Behind what we see onstage every fall is a committed team of writers, directors and stage crew, making sure what we see as an audience is the best that it can be. A few positions that usually are not the first thing that come to mind when people think of YAMO are general director, technical director, writer and composer. Just as actors face performance challenges, these positions do not come without their own set of obstacles. 

The job of general director is a challenge to take on. This year, senior general director Jackson Hamrick’s responsibilities include writing for the show over the summer, overseeing the scenes of all the separate companies and coordinating with the stage crew. Hamrick supervises the creative process from beginning to end, with the help of the board. General directors work closely with theater director Timothy Herbert and crew director Aaron Carney who are the only two staff members that oversee YAMO. 

 “I go from company to company watching scenes with Mr. Herbert and Mr. Carney to make sure things are working, and I give notes with them,”  Hammerick explains.

While being general director is a major responsibility, YAMO would not run smoothly without help from the other board members. YAMO also consists of the stage crew company, or Croo as it’s called by its members during the show. 

“Everything that isn’t a human [on stage] has to do with us,”  senior Mayher Matharu, one of four technical directors in charge of the crew, says. 

 While this position can look different for each of the technical directors, the role includes designing the set using an online program, helping crew members put the set and lighting together, stage managing and people management. 

“Unlike other companies, crew is a … no-cut thing, so we get a lot of amazing people, but it’s a lot to juggle,”  Matharu explains.

Another position that makes up YAMO is the writers. While all members on the YAMO board write for the show, company directors included, there are two people who specialize in writing. Writer Graham Umbanhower, senior, writes and edits sketches all summer. In the fall, he watches companies rehearsals to see what needs to change. Then, he will rewrite the sketches that need work. 

“A lot of the time, you’ll get something [to rewrite], and it may not necessarily be your work originally,” Umbanhower says.  “When you’re starting to re-write, you have to think ‘what do I think is funny about this sketch?’ and ‘how can I make this my own?’” 

YAMO would not be the ridiculous, introspective show Evanston knows and loves without these demanding positions. Board-members overcome the aforementioned hardships   and put in extraneous effort work, which will be evident in the end product and in the audiences’ first laughs. YAMO: Season Finale is running in the Upstairs Theater at ETHS on Oct. 4, 5, 10, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are currently sold out online.