Tech crew plays stealthy role in ensuring success for fall play

Curtains up, lights on and actors and actresses take the front of the stage as they perform their hearts out during each performance. Behind these performances stand the busy techies (stagehands) in the stage’s darkness.

Techies have many jobs including moving sets and props, working the lights, operating the curtains, catching objects the actors “throw out of the windows,” helping with costumes and makeup, keeping things moving along with the play or musical and helping making sure that things run smoothly.

Whether techies enjoy painting, figuring out costume ideas, building sets or just helping out in anyway they can, there’s a job for everyone, because there are many options for techies and what jobs they’ll have. Stage manager Nicole Loy said, “There’s lights and sound, costumes and makeup, and general stagehands. The majority of techies are stagehands.”

Other managers include Emily Peck, costume manager, and Zach Worthington, light and sound manager.

Without picking favorites, Loy notes that there are a few techies that stand out. “Emily Peck finds and fixes all of our costumes by herself.  Zach Worthington and Jared Rikard program, install, adjust and run all the lights for the show, [and] lastly Kathryn Wright, the assistant stage manager, helps oversee people when I can’t and helps with the daily mountain of work it takes to put on a show.”

The amount of techies needed varies performance to performance, but anyone wanting to join can sign up as soon as auditions start up at the beginning of the year or talk to any of the managers or Rathe if one misses sign-up. “This play there are 15 to 18 techies. We’re very lucky,” director Michelle Rathe said.

With two shows this fall, techies are really needed and stay busy. “We go from pretty much a blank stage to a full house set up with table and chairs in one curtain [drop],” Rathe said.

Techies also put in many hours like the actors and actresses. Though there are some days when techies are not needed, they practice Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday after school to 6 p.m. On Wednesday, practice ends at around 5:30. There are also optional set construction Saturdays that run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

As far as the last week before the show, techies, actors and everyone involved often stay until 9 p.m. every night leading up to opening night.

With all the jobs of techies and the hours they put in, they begin to develop better time management skills and people skills. However every techie is different, and after each play season,  fall or spring or both, they walk away having learned something new and helpful for the future or perhaps enhance one or more skills they have.

Loy said, “The best part about being in theater is the people. You spend so much time with each other that you start to get close to everyone.”

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