Theater professor Fran Lautenberger

How long have you been teaching? This is my 19th year at UAA.

Have you changed your style since you started teaching? Yes, certainly. When I first started out, I know I was much more rigid and nervous about delivering the information to the class. It was a bit boring. I like to think I am more interesting now. Also, I have begun to use PowerPoint in my lectures. Makes them much more efficient.

What have you taught at UAA and what are you currently teaching? I teach costume design I and II, make-up (regular and sometimes three-dimensional), introduction to theater, puppetry and mask-making. I have also taught lighting design.

What rewards do you personally get from teaching? I enjoy sharing my love of theater with students. With theater students it is a sharing that increases their desire to learn more about the subject. With the general student population, I enjoy opening their eyes to a world they would never knew existed.

Where did you go to school? What was your major?  I went to Rutgers University in New Jersey and earned a bachelor of arts in theater and English – a double major. I earned my master of fine arts at the University of Connecticut primarily in the design fields of costume and lighting.

What drew you to this field? I tell all my students theatre is like a disease. Once you have it, you can never really get rid of it. I have wanted to do theatre since grammar school, and although it was tough at certain points convincing my parents it was a worthy occupation(hence the double major in college), I knew I didn’t want to do anything else.

What was your worst or most interesting job as a student? I worked at the dining hall all four years in college. Some say that would be horrible and sometimes it was, but we always had fun. Also that is where I met my husband, so it was worth it.

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What undergraduate course do you remember best?  I remember my first tech. theater course as an undergraduate, and the professor said that he was going to ruin theater for us. Never again would we look at theater the way we did before. Now instead of going to a show and just enjoying it, we were going to spend the whole show thinking, ‘how did they do that and what is that set made out of?’ And I am afraid he was right.

Born and raised? Born in Jersey City N.J., and raised in Middletown, N.J., 45 minutes outside of NewYork City.

Favorite movie(s)?  My secret favorite movie is “Galaxy Quest” and I love Muppet movies especially “Muppet Treasure Island,” and also “The Dark Crystal,” which is not Muppets but still Jim Henson. I also love the “Lord of the Rings” all three, and my favorite old movie is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with Rex Harrison. See it, it’s great.

Favorite book, poem or screenplay? I read a lot. I don’t really have a favorite book. I lean toward science fiction/fantasy when I read for entertainment.

Favorite music or artist? I enjoy lots of different music and don’t really have a favorite.

What are your favorite past times and hobbies? We love to kayak, the whole family. I love puppets, I have done shows with puppets and need to do more. I actually love counted cross-stitch, and I like to do some beading in my free time.

What are you most passionate about in life? First, of course, my husband, Carl, and my son, Matt. They are the most important people in my life and they support me and help me in all things, and my crazy dog Nobska. After them, I love the theater and puppetry, what can I say? Even in retirement I can never picture myself very far away from it.

Anything you like to do but haven’t as yet? I would like to write more. I am working on an original play as part of my sabbatical and when and if I ever find time, I would enjoy doing more writing.