The theatre tech crew began rehearsing for the spring musical “The Sound of Music” on March 11 and continues to practice every day after school leading up to the play. But, as theater director Bernard DeLeo said, they are the unsung heroes of every play.
Senior Emma Smith began her tech journey in her sophomore year as a lighting apprentice.
Smith said the behind-the-scenes process starts during the tech theatre class and the entire period is spent organizing each aspect leading up to the play. An obstacle during rehearsals is the limited work-space, but the temporary inconvenience is minor compared to the final product.
“To ensure things go smoothly, our stage managers keep track of everything that needs to happen prior to [the] show and during the performance,” Smith said. “You can’t really build on the stage while the actors are working, so that’s one challenge in regards to getting more time to finish certain projects. The best feeling is […] watching everything you helped build from the ground up finally come together.”
Freshman Abby Brunner’s path in theater started as an assistant stage manager in the winter play “Be More Chill.” When “The Sound of Music” came along, DeLeo promoted her to the manager level. Brunner said she did not expect the promotion.
“It was definitely a surprise since [DeLeo] told me that I would not get to this level [by] freshman year the first time I met him,” Brunner said. “No one cares about seniority in the theatre department.”
Brunner said seeing the final product as well as the community is her favorite part about theatre tech.
“Once you get on stage and see the progression [without] scripts in hand, you see the evolution of all the actors [with] the band [present],” Brunner said. “It’s a really amazing feeling [to say] I was behind this as part of a theatre family. [It] is such a great experience.”
DeLeo said everyone works backstage, not just during the show, but also leading up to the performance.
“The perception is that [tech theatre] is easy, which it isn’t,” DeLeo said. “It’s problem solving […] all under a tight deadline and a budget as well. It’s a lot of physical labor. It’s very technical [and] hands on.”
DeLeo said the main responsibilities for supporting the performances exist in the production phase building up to the play, as well as running the performance in front of a live audience.
“We have to figure out [first] ‘what’s the play we’re doing,’ and then ‘how do we interpret that visually on stage?’” DeLeo said. “It’s stressful, especially when […] you’re pulling long hours, in which stuff isn’t ready yet [and] you’re scrambling to try to get this together.”
The theatre tech crew sets the stage for each production and recognizes the role they play is essential to a successful production.
“It’s very challenging,” DeLeo said. “There’s [multiple] moving parts, so that’s why it feels very triumphant when you pull off a show and you can breathe easy. It is an amazing thing when it comes out perfect.”