While a student at Carson High School, Jessica Borda was often in the spotlight.
Playing Frenchie in "Grease" and starring in other productions including, "A Piece of My Heart" and "Bang, Bang, You're Dead," she was comfortable taking center stage.
However, since graduating in 2000, she's been on the other side of the bright lights.
"I haven't been on the stage in four years, but I love what I do," she said. "I'd never trade it for anything. I'm in the thick of everything."
Borda, 22, graduated from the University of Evansville in Indiana with a bachelor of science in theater design and technology. She aspires to become a stage manager.
"It's kind of like being the director's right hand," she explained. "It's making sure all of the technical stuff goes right in order to facilitate all of the artistic expectations."
She's well on her way to achieving her goal, working as an apprentice this summer to the production service crew of the Santa Fe (N.M.) Opera.
The job started May 31 and will run until Aug. 29. The season will include 38 performances of five operas: "Simon Boccanegra" by Verdi, "Don Giovanni" by Mozart, "Beatrice and Benedict" by Berlioz, "Agrippina" by Handel and "La Sonnambula" by Bellini.
Her duties include setting up and organizing the orchestra pit and helping out with costumes and set design.
"It's great," she said in a phone interview from Santa Fe. "This theater is phenomenal. It's one of the top operas in the nation, and you're always doing something different."
Borda, the daughter of Thomas and Leslie Borda, began performing at the age of 4, studying dance from Carson City's Carolyn Oliver. She studied under Oliver for 14 years and has continued to evolve.
"From dance, theater was just the next step," she explained. "From being on stage, I found my niche in management."
Once her apprenticeship ends, she is not sure what her next step will be. However, she is applying for various apprenticeships as stage manager or a job as a production assistant, which will probably take her to Chicago.
She has no interest in taking time off between school and starting her career.
"I'm just ready to start working in theater," she explained.
Her ultimate job would be to work for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and she would like to work on Broadway.
She can't say exactly what drew her to the stage, but she knows it's where she wants to be.
"It's more that I just can't see myself doing anything else," she said.
Contact Teri Vance at email@example.com or at 881-1272.