The odds are that people who have been to a Clemson Players production in the last few years have witnessed the work of senior performing arts major, Rebekah Swygert (2016). Swygert has spent much of her time at Clemson University creating props and makeup designs for Players’ productions.

Hailing from West Columbia, Swygert entered Clemson as performing arts major (with an emphasis in acting) after transferring from Presbyterian College during her sophomore year. She said she loves performing, but was also attracted to these crafts of design early in her Clemson career.

“I took props and makeup classes with associate professor Shannon Robert and really enjoyed it. Shannon is one of my favorite people. She just has great insight on everything, is always willing to help and lets us assist her with projects that give us the hands-on learning that we need,” Swygert said. “I also worked in the shop a lot with technical director Matt Leckenbusch. So I’ve done a lot of different things: some makeup, some props, some carpentry. I think one of my favorite things about Clemson is that I came here for acting and found other things that I’m passionate about.”

This opportunity for well-roundedness is one of the things Swygert has enjoyed most about her time at Clemson. Her first major project was composing original music for the Clemson Players’ production of “Late: A Cowboy’s Song” in the fall of 2013. As an actor, Swygert was able to perform in “Eurydice” and “Twelfth Night” while creating props for “Eurydice” and constructing sets for both productions.

She also took part in internship opportunities with Worklight Productions when the production company brought their musicals to town.

“I would love to go on the road with a touring company at some point in my life, and I think this is preparation for that,” she said.

For this fall’s production of “A Lie of the Mind,” Swygert not only designed the makeup for the show, but also worked with Shannon Robert to create an interesting prop: a frozen deer carcass. Or, rather, half of one.

“It’s a prop you don’t see everyday,” Robert said.

In fact, the prop is famous for its uniqueness and is usually rented from a third party. Robert said it was a challenging project and a useful learning experience for students. It was created by molding a donated taxidermy deerskin using PVC, birdseed and foam. The skin needed shape, so foam and birdseed were used to create a lifelike appearance. Foam molding was glued to skin with flexible glue. The result was startling in its realism.

Swygert is drawn to the work, in part, because of how important it is to creating the world of the play.

“I just love how makeup and props are a different side of things,” she said. “I like learning how to make things look realistic onstage and learning what we need in a production besides acting. Being able to participate in carpentry, props and makeup makes you appreciate what everyone else is doing more as an actor. Conversely, as a designer, I can appreciate the actors and I know how hard they’re working, so I know how to work with them.”

Her goals after Clemson include attending Lutheran seminary and pursuing global missionary work.

“In a lot of ways, that’s something that theater relates to,” she said. “It helps you understand people better. Theater is exploring humanity, and that’s what you need to do in order to effectively help people.”

And helping people, she said, is the ultimate goal.

“At Clemson, I’ve gotten a great background for that. I have experience in carpentry, so I can help people fix their houses if they need it. I can do makeup and props if we ever need to put on any shows. I feel like it all relates in ways that people don’t always see.”