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MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012 | PAGE 4C

From pulling curtains to teaching crafts

One educator focuses his teaching on being the ‘anti-professor’ Especially when it comes to teaching Stagecraft I and II, in which students complete lab hours in the scene shop located in the Fine Arts Center. There, Pomeroy oversees the building of sets and rigging of the light systems for Drake performances. Pomeroy describes his teaching tactic as leading by example. “I strive to make this not just a shop class. I try to tie in everything students learn in craft courses with the goal of the play they’re building for,” Pomeroy said. “To make them see why a set piece is important and help students take part in the class. So that they can go and see the play and see what they had a hand in making.” In running the scene shop, Pomeroy is responsible for all the technical aspects for performances, such as construcALYSSA MARTIN | staff photographer tion of sets, creation of special effects and light design. No matter which perforJOHN POMEROY teaches Stagecraft I & II. He also runs the scene shop in the Fine Arts mance hall is in use, Pomeroy Center. provides all the upkeep and maintenance for all of the stages and their lighting controls. This by Alyssa Martin encompasses his role in not just the department of theater arts, Staff Writer but also the school of fine arts as a whole. Pomeroy describes his style of teaching as that of an “antiJohn Pomeroy, known simply as “Roy” to most Drake Uniprofessor.” He hopes to be seen by his students beyond the acaversity faculty and students, has been at Drake for nearly 19 demic realm. years, hired right after he earned his master of the fine arts at “I create friendships with my students that carry beyond the University of Iowa. Technical theater design was a profession school,” Pomeroy said. “Even beyond graduation — we’re friends that came naturally to Pomeroy, a native of Bettendorf, Iowa. He for life.” recalls his first experience working behind the scenes as a sophForrest Williams, a senior directing major who works as a techomore in high school, filling in for a missing crewmember. He nical assistant to Pomeroy in the scene shop, describes him as a only had to wait for his friend’s signal to pull the rope that lifted successful professor at reaching out to students. the stage curtain, but as soon as that signal came, Pomeroy was “Roy is a good professor and teaches his students well in a difhooked. ferent kind of style. He gets them to work by being friendly and Fate once again had a hand in Pomeroy’s technical career speaking to them on equal terms. You know he is a superior, but when he began his undergraduate program at St. Ambrose Unihe never pulls rank over the students,” Williams said. versity in Davenport, Iowa, originally as a double major in theWilliams especially finds the environment of the scene shop ater design and TV/radio production, which were both housed beneficial. in the Fine Arts Building. “Working in the shop is more casual and more like a real work Upon entering the building at St. Ambrose, Pomeroy encounenvironment instead of like a classroom,” Williams said. tered an older gentleman carrying a gigantic ladder. Offering to Ivy Gardner, a second year theater-education major, realizes help, Pomeroy carried the ladder into the theater and knew he Pomeroy’s aptitude about his work. belonged there. The older man, who turned out to be one of the “He really knows what he’s talking about and that makes it professors, offered Pomeroy a work-study position as a technical fun,” Gardner said. “It helps that he’s relaxed and has a good assistant on the spot. sense of humor.” “The rest is history,” Pomeroy said. This humor can be seen in Pomeroy’s fondness for Oreo cookPomeroy’s current job as an associate professor of theater arts ies — a tactic some students try to use to their advantage. incorporates three important positions within the theater depart“If I come into the shop and there’s a package of Oreos on my ment: professor of theatre for the Department of Theater Arts, desk, I just shout, ‘Who’s in trouble?’” Pomeroy said. technical director for the Department of Theater Arts and techEven working with non-theater majors, Pomeroy hopes to innical director for the School of Fine Arts. still the same interests in them. Pomeroy said his first love is education and he considers the “They bring a different kind of interest to the class.” Pomeroy teaching aspect of his job as his top priority. said. “To be actually able to hold a job where I can teach what I Pomeroy also has no problem converting non-majors to his love is better than anything I could imagine,” Pomeroy said. area of design and technology.

“I can guarantee that at least 40 percent of the design majors currently enrolled started out differently,” Pomeroy said. Pomeroy tells of one particular convert who began as a math and physics major but changed to design and technology after taking a stagecraft course with Pomeroy. That student went on to graduate and eventually work as an assistant production manager for the largest theater scenery company in the states. Currently that student is pursuing his graduate degree in technical directing at Yale. Pomeroy describes what he calls his “glowing moment as a

Roy is a good professor and teaches his students well in a different kind of style. He gets them to work by being friendly and speaking to them on equal terms. You know he is a superior, but he never pulls rank over the students. –Forrest Williams

professor,” when he was able to show the scenery designs created by one alumnus for the Broadway performance of “Legally Blonde” to his current students, knowing that the work was being displayed in theaters all over. If he was not working at Drake, Pomeroy knows he would want to teach college courses elsewhere. “It’s the high energy that I love,” Pomeroy said. “I can thrive off of college age kids whereas I don’t have the patience for middle school kids.” Pomeroy’s passion for his profession is what he hopes to pass on to his students. “I want to lead by example,” Pomeroy said. “I have to make sure that I exude my desire for the work, and then students begin to enjoy what they’re doing, too.” “What I really want everyone to get is that I love my job,” Pomeroy said.

ALYSSA MARTIN | staff photographer JOHN POMEROY instructs a student on measurements. He is currently an associate professor of theater arts.

Free bus service for students during the weekend ‘Dub Bus’ driver shares experiences, good and bad by Lauren Horsch

My biggest pet peeve is people not listening to the schedule.


Dub Bus: A staple for many weekends at Drake University. Friday nights for one Drake senior continue to be a source of entertainment, even while he’s working. Every Friday night, Drake University senior, Brad, gets behind the wheel of a small, yellow school bus with “THE DUBLIN” scrawled across its side. As he starts the bus, he starts his night of work, entertainment and frustration. Brad is the driver of the Dublin Bus, aka the “Dub Bus.” He drives a loop around campus to pick up patrons of The Dublin, a bar just east of campus. With a simple phone call, patrons can be picked up for free (tips are accepted though). Brad can drive to anywhere in the Drake neighborhood. He’s just “not supposed to go to other bars” even though his main stops are around Peggy’s Tavern, Dublin, Greek Street and 36th Street. The ring of a cellphone, answered promptly with “Dub Bus,” remains a constant throughout the evening. “I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” Brad says to an

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Call: 515-285-5364


anonymous caller. “Hey, it’s the Dub Bus, I’m outside of Paul Revere’s (Pizza) right meow,” he says as he pulls up to his destination. The first round of passengers he picks up is a group of young men discussing their Friday night exploits. Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” comes on over the radio. Brad turns it up and sings along. The interior of the Dub Bus looks like any other small school bus. The seats comfortably seat two people, three if the space is needed. Officially, there is no maximum capacity posted on the bus, but going by the two-per-seat rule, the bus seats 14, 21 if the three-person rule is in force. Brad said he tells everyone to sit down when they are on the bus. “Do not stand, unless you have to,” Brad said. He warns passengers because his driving “will make them stumble.” He recounts an incident when one girl did

not sit down. In the warmer months, Brad said the bus is not air conditioned, and one night, when the bus was filled to capacity, a girl was standing near the front of the bus. The girl fell and her hair got caught in the fan attached to the dashboard. Brad then had to “saw her hair off with a utility knife.” “I felt really bad,” Brad said. “She was terrified.” The stench of stale beer and sweat stews on the bus with a constant flow of passengers coming in and going off. Even in the dark, layers of grime and dirt caked onto the floor are visible. When Brad takes a sharp turn, the garbage can moves from its spot in the front of the bus and tips over. A can of Keystone Light falls out and rattles around. That garbage can has been through a lot. Brad remembers when a first-year puked in it and then had to clean it out. Through the night he makes his loop picking up passengers. At one point, he stops in the

Walgreens parking lot at University Avenue and 31st Street. He waits for a while. He takes a bite of a brownie snack when he sees his new passenger sprinting toward the Dub Bus. The new passenger gets on the bus panting and directs Brad to the house he was supposed to pick them up at. Instead, a group of about 10 people start walking toward the bus. Once the group enters the bus, the man who sprinted began to dance and asked to turn up the music. Brad obliged. His busiest hours are between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. After that, he said, most people start walking home to “sober up.” Brad said the Dub Bus is a good alternative so people don’t have to walk. “I would rather have people on this bus than driving,” Brad said. His night continues until bar close. With every pickup comes a new batch of passengers — many intoxicated. Friends ask other friends, “Are you gonna be okay?” Others yell, “To The Dublin!” The noise level doesn’t bother Brad. “My biggest pet peeve is people not listening to the schedule,” Brad said, as he honks the bus’s horn outside of a university residence hall.

Need a ride?

The bus runs: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hours of operation: Thursday — 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday — 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Busiest Hours: 11:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Most frequent pick-up spots: Peggy’s Tavern, The Dublin, Greek Street and 36th Street.

TAYLOR SOULE | photo editor

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