Stage crew member shares insights in cast’s preparations of The Adams Family

As March starts up, the theater department is ready to absolutely dazzle the audience Thursday, Friday and Saturday night with their production of The Addams Family. All for the low low price of the theaters’ collective sanity. Directors Michelle Rathe and Molly Magill, choir director Elliot Kranz and orchestra director Gerald Ramsey have all worked unbelievably hard and pushed their students even harder to get this show to the point of perfection it currently sits at. A huge part of that thrive for perfection is Tech Week, or, as any person in the show will tell you, it’s actually called, Hell Week. 

Hell Week is the Monday to Thursday before the show’s debut, and it’s mainly the stress that gets to students as Hell Week is an entire week of full runs, with costume, makeup, props, the pit and no room for error. From 2:55 to sometimes as late as 10 p.m., theater members are on stage going through the motions trying to see what works and what needs to be cut before the final bows. 

From the stage crew’s perspective, Hell Week is just another way to be run ragged. Strike tape positions need to be finalized, curtain cues have to be memorized, props need to be on and off stage in seconds flat, dangerous rig systems have to be used and worked around, all while trying to keep actors in line backstage as Rathe and Magill run the frontlines. 

But no matter how hard they always get the props set, even if the stage is pitch black and they can’t find the strike tape, they always have props in the proper place and a handle on any situation.

And that’s just the stage crew. For lights and sound techies, Hell Week is the final chance to get any kind of mistake out of their systems. Spots have to be set and perfect, mood lighting has to come up with the music, work lights have to come up and flick off in the time the stage crew moves the set and the curtain flies back open, and the sound cues need to be on time even if the actors on stage miss theirs, and so far they haven’t missed one. Light and sound has been phenomenal at keeping pace and lighting up the stage and SC’s hearts.

But for tech it’s not all stress, the crew still has fun with moments like sudden interpretive dance breaks from Midnight Thornton, Abby Brodhead and Nathan Standing; recurrent inside jokes like Nichole Taylor’s obsession with Kelly the chicken, and enough drama between the stage managers to fuel a Mean Girls reboot. 

And, of course, it’s stressful for the people who are actually out on the stage giving it their all every night. With constant notes, reworks, costume changes, makeup problems, wig malfunctions, uncooperative props and a million stops a rehearsal, it’s a lot to handle. 

But nonetheless they handle it, and they do whatever Rathe, Kranz, Ramsey or Magill needs done. They get to their places, have their props (most of the time anyway), and are ready to work as hard as they need to. 

Those who have worked hardest though are the seniors. Leads Ahmad Madlock and Emma Degroote have been working tirelessly to make their final performance a show stopper, and frankly that sentiment has carried throughout the entire senior cast and crew. Senior tech, while a bit on edge and a bit overzealous to be honest, has made sure that the show has gone as smoothly as possible. With SL stage manager Christian Becker running a tight ship on stage left and Easton Steffen and Sal Engle making sure to keep a grip on things on stage right, along with Alivia Davidson in the booth and Nichole Taylor on spot, the senior tech is making sure that their final, final bows will be with pride. 

But of course nothing they do compares to the dedication from the directors. From Rathe mac to loving speeches of encouragement, Rathe and Magill especially are what made this show possible because without them, theater wouldn’t be here, and so to quote the entire theater department, “We love you Rathe. We love you Magill. Thank you for everything,” and from the seniors, “It’s been an honor working with you both these last three years. We’ll miss you.”

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