Student Spotlight: Will Maresco ’19 lights up the theater stage

by Shera Bhala | 2/19/19 2:30am

Every theater production involves a great amount of behind-the-scenes work. Will Maresco ’19 is a theater major with minors in digital arts and engineering, who finds his passion in lighting, sound and stage design. He designs for many student productions with his skilled and wide-ranging talents.  

Dedicated to the theater department, Maresco began designing his freshman year. He enjoyed working on Robert Leverett ’16's honors thesis project “Cotton Patch Gospel” during his first spring at Dartmouth, and he particularly enjoyed how powerful this production was and that it actively involved the audience. 

“I am proud of the student-produced works that happen in the Bentley [Theater],” Maresco said. “I feel like I am able to be very creative and speak to a more specific audience with these productions.”

Creating the lighting and sound and working in the scene shop building sets for many productions allows Maresco to introspect on his work. He takes time to analyze his contributions and make improvements for the future. As a significant learning experience, Maresco cites his time working on “Trifles” his sophomore year. He designed the lighting for this play, and found himself re-examining his work. 

“I just didn’t love my work on it,” Maresco said. “But I got to recognize what I didn’t like about my work and what I wanted to change about it and for others in the future.”

Following this production, he designed for Lela Gannon ’18’s honors thesis performance, “The Houses with Ramps.” He enjoyed this performance and recognized his improvement as a designer because of his experience with “Trifles.” Both of these productions had subtle, intimate environments, and he appreciated his resulting familiarity with this kind of staging.

“These weren’t big productions, and I hadn’t worked in that medium before, so it was a big learning curve to match that intimacy with my lighting,” Maresco said. 

Maresco’s peers and mentors are inspired by his dedication and talent. They praise his wide repertoire of designing abilities and contagious enthusiasm. His mentor, theater professor Dan Kotlowitz, has had Maresco in class, witnessed him designing lights, sound and scenery for shows, and had Maresco work with him as an assistant professionally. 

“To have someone who has such a wide range of interest and has the creative drive to pursue all of it is terrific,” Kotlowitz said. “He is unique in that he is pursuing more than one design element at a time, which is pretty hard to do, but he has an extraordinary amount of energy.” 

Jennifer Collins Hard, a production manager and lecturer, has worked with Maresco on multiple productions. She commends him as an advanced technical student who is always willing to try new things. He embraces every project and often surpasses the instructor’s technical knowledge, she said.

A close friend and collaborator, Kelleen Moriarty ’19, said she loves working with him and engaging with him on an artistic level. She described him as a talented creator who is a joy to work with, and admires that he is always invested artistically and emotionally in productions and the concept of each play. 

“He is an incredibly reflective artist, who is very good about being both generous and critical with himself and other artists,” Moriarty said. “He encourages me to do the same and to improve my creations. He sees the best in his collaborators and the art and pushes for the best.”

Currently, Maresco holds a staff-level position as sound designer for the theater department’s production of “Into the Woods,” which will perform at the Hopkins Center beginning this Friday. Maresco said he is having fun designing for “Into the Woods” and looks forward to the performances. 

As for going forward, Maresco thinks that the biggest challenge for him, and many artists, will be stability. He wants to balance what he wants in his personal life and find happiness, while also being able to commit to his art and pursue his creative desire. 

In the future, Maresco hopes to work in theater, perhaps as a designer or in the capacity of a more technical position. Possibly heading to New York after graduation, people may soon see productions with sound, lighting and staging by Will Maresco. 

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!