Out of the Public’s View — The Stage Crew Makes Magic Happen

Carl Pilgrim , Reporter

Theatre, not the place —  the art, is a great thing. You get to sit down, relax and watch a great show put on by the actors. But what about the people in the shadows? The crew. The underappreciated, the ones who make the magic happen from the back? What is it like back there? What is it that they do? Well, now that the musical has just passed, let’s take a look and see what was done to put on the great musical Urinetown.

Before the show, there has to be a game plan about what you want the set to be like. 

“I helped plan parts of the set with the help from our technical director…most of it came from our student technical director who did a lot of the designing in AutoCAD,” said LHS Sophomore and crew member Katelyn Wright. 

The set  design began last year. They like to start ahead and make changes along the way. It was done by LHS Senior Cris George and theater technical director Timothy Smith, who worked on the plans. 

With set plans all set, the rest of the crew is put to work. What’s the process like? Well for starters, the students build the sets by hand.

Assistant Technical Director and LHS Sophomore Gavyn Smith stated “The set went up fairly smoothly with a few adjustments but nothing went wrong necessarily.”

The building of the set took about 2 months.

LHS Sophomore Leila Cucchiara added “Honestly I couldn’t have hoped for a better construction process and I think everyone in crew can agree with me. The set was constructed and finished quickly and everything went so smoothly.”

With practice and proper training, the students were able to build the set quickly and smoothly. Of course like any other club or sport, it’s a team effort, every member has some contribution.

  “I think that I’ve made a good impact on the LHSTC,” said Kaitlyn Wright. “I get to be put on big projects and people trust me enough to let me do things on my own. I don’t think I’ve made as big of an impact as some people from last year, but hopefully over the next 2 years, I’ll be able to grow and become a valuable part of the team.” 

 With the set building and decorating all done, what happens next? What happens during the show? There are many important roles to be filled and jobs to be done while the show is being performed.

Crew members change scenes, make sure actors have their props, and do this in almost total darkness.

 The jobs are given to the running crew, which also happens to be the construction crew. Running crew are the people who are backstage hidden in the dark, moving the set so it “changes to the next scene.”

This show was rather easy to run as most just had to swing a wall opened and closed.

Gavyn Smith  “moved the rolling platform for the majority of the show, with the occasional moving of Caldwell’s desk and chair.”

Backstage, the crew gets a whole different perspective on the show. While the actors focus on performing, the crew focuses on nothing falls apart backstage, that the actors have all their props ready, while sound and lighting also make sure the performance is seamless. 

“I think that overall the show went pretty well…it went a lot better than I had expected with the short time frame, but everything fell into place in the end,” said LHS Sophomore and Stage Manager  Emily Dotson.

Crew first timer, LHS Sophomore Olivia Peterson added besides headsets breaking and not being able to hear for a half hour, it went pretty well.”

Katelyn added The show went great! Everything on the technical side went fine in my opinion except for a few mix troubles but that’s bound to happen.”

But now that the show is over, how do they feel after working so hard?

Olivia summed it up, “I feel kinda sad, looking forward to festival.”

Getting the set ready.
A view from behind the set.