By Brian Robin
Angela Balogh Calin Brings Versatility to SCR’s Gala
Angela Balogh Calin takes great pride in her versatility, almost as much pride as she takes in her limitless work ethic. We’re talking about a designer who in her native Romania, was trained to work on scenic designs and costume designs simultaneously. She created costumes for 33 SCR productions and designed both sets and costumes for another seven.
One design stretches a designer’s talents to the utmost; never mind both.
Calin likes double-dipping because in her words, “it’s not about micromanaging, but the visual integrity of a show, the overall look of a show. I love that.”
So you can imagine how much she loves triple-dipping.
Along with her set and costume work for SCR and other theatres, Calin is the designer of “Play On,” SCR’s Gala, which returns to the Newport Beach Country Club Friday, September 30.
It’s Calin’s sixth consecutive year designing the Gala and she approaches it with the same zest as a set or costumes.
“I challenge myself. One of the reasons is I love to discover new subjects and do new shows. I’m treating this just like a play,” she said. “I do the research for a play and I do the same thing for the Gala. I look up images and I go to libraries and I look up things. I start from an idea and I try to get inspiration from so many sources, from nature and literature, from fine arts. That gives me a chance to discover new things that I might not have seen if I didn’t get to work on this project.”
The Gala’s “Play On” theme gives Calin a broad brush in terms of design. Once she has the theme, she begins the process in the spring, about six months out, incorporating theatrical themes into the décor.
From there, she presents her ideas and concepts to the Gala Committee. With the Gala returning to Newport Beach Country Club, Calin already has a grasp of the site’s structure and limitations.
“Being a Gala, it needs to look luxurious and elegant,” she said. “It’s all about life, and color and textures and joyous moments. We try to make it an event that is joyful and also whimsical.”
At the same time, Calin remains aware of the times. The whimsy must dovetail with not only the practical and the setting, but do so tastefully.
“Coming out of the pandemic, in a way, it’s more introspective. It’s less flamboyant, more subtle,” she said. “We’re aiming for something elegant and sophisticated and even though the title is ‘Play On,’ it’s ‘Play On’ in terms of theatre, not necessarily in terms of playing. This time around, the playfulness is more subtle. … This time around, we have a more minimalist take on this.”
“I love it. I absolutely love it,” she said. “I love it because it’s very different from other subjects that I do. I think about it like a play, but it’s something different. I love the interaction with people. I love the shops here (at SCR). These talented people, these artisans who work there, it’s always a pleasure to work with these very talented people.”