Raising the Curtain on the Theater Tech Crew
Written Cait Thompson
It’s hard to deny that East Ridge is capable of producing amazing theater productions. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for example. With the upcoming winter one act, many of you might be wondering how this is all possible. Schools perform plays all the time, but it’s fair to say our school’s are more unique than most.
The actors work hard to make the characters as believable as possible, but what about the rest of the show? Would you want to see “The Little Mermaid” on a dull, poorly lit stage? Outside without any props or sound effects? Probably not.
East Ridge's tech crew, or as they call themselves, "Techies" make this all possible. They’re the faces viewers never get to see, hiding behind the curtains and up in the sound booth. Without the techies, the plays and musicals would lose the “wow” factor we've come to expect.
Stage Manager and Student Set Director, senior Sophie Pfluger has been apart of the program since her freshman year. In her words, she is, “in charge of everything that moves”. The props, actors, other tech members, you name it; Sophie is the one most likely pointing to where it should be going.
“It’s like real life Jenga,” she explains as we walked through the set. Looking around it’s easy to see why. There are props and people everywhere trying to do everything at once. Imagine, after a long day at school with a full class load you have to go to an even more stressful environment. Sophie has stayed even as late as 11pm.
So why would anyone keep doing this? Most students would much prefer to be at home with their homework finished then stuck at the school for another eight hours. Sophie says she stays to see her hard work pay off; to an extent, she even enjoys the task of piecing together this living puzzle.
Another important tech crew member is Nolan Sherburne; an eleventh grader. He is in charge directing the sound crew and working the soundboards himself. A majority of his part involves figuring out how to, “show, not tell” to get the desired result. Nolan is also no stranger to the sleep vs homework debate. Like Sophie, theater takes up most of the time that other students spend doing homework or participating in various extracurricular activities.
As previously mentioned, being a part of tech takes a lot of time out of someone’s day. The hours make it hard enough to get homework and other things done. Most teachers understand the students’ situations. The offer of getting an extension is there but it doesn’t do much to prevent kids from falling behind on school and sleep.
These stressors double during “Hell Week”, or the week leading up to the first performance as techies call it. The hours that go into last minute preparations are insane! Student crew members have to make the decision between sleep or do homework each night.
Now, not all of this work falls on the techies alone. According to sophomore Sammy Trevis, actors have to get in 10 hours of set building per show, but that’s only part of the preparations. Actors are busy with their own roles so this goal is sometimes hard to meet. On top of this, makeup, props, cues, blackouts, sound effects, lighting, costumes, etc still need to be completed.
Previous Tech member and current actress, junior Gabby Franus can attest to the necessity of having a technical crew. She says that, “there wouldn’t be a show without them and she’s grateful for all the work that they put in." After all, an actor can’t walk off stage without their lighting cue.
Often times, people forget how much work goes into making the set believable for the audience. The time techies put into each show is unbelievable. It takes a special individual to withstand that amount of stress every day. Luckily, there is a large number of students at East Ridge both willing and dedicated to our theater able to power through. All they ask of their viewers is that they, “appreciate the technical aspects of the show as they put a lot of time in to make it perfect.”