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Behind the Scenes

Construction

The construction crew builds the sets using power tools, lumber and a whole lot of screws. As construction is so popular, it is usually one of the largest crews.

Despite the jokes that go around about the actors, construction head junior Jay Goldman says that the actors have a great relationship with tech. “There are plenty of people who are both actors and are in tech,” Goldman said. “We make a lot of jokes that are anti-actor,” construction head sophomore Chris Daw said. “But we get along.”

The biggest challenge for the “Macbeth” construction heads is managing people. “Not everyone in stage tech is as devoted as others, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can make it hard to get stuff done,” Goldman said.

Despite the challenges, there are a lot of payoffs. “I like seeing the completed set with everything painted and the actors on it,” Daw said. “It’s really a good thing to see.” Goldman agrees. “I like the bit where it goes from being off stage to on stage,” he said.

Props

Finding and maintaining props may look like an easy task, but “Macbeth” props head junior Lianna McFarlane-Connelly knows that the job is not always so easy. They usually have to find or make props, and when they cannot do that, they have to buy them.  “Using props depends on the time period,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to see a cell phone in the fifties.”

Props needs to have a good relationship and excellent communication with the actors. “Our relationship is definitely symbiotic,” McFarlane-Connelly said.

But this relationship isn’t the hardest part of props—Designer Runthrough is.  Designer Runthrough usually happens around three to four weeks before the show, and the actors perform on stage while the tech heads take notes on what they need to find for the actors.  For props, this includes a great deal of communication and demand.

Overall, McFarlane-Connelly loves her crew because she loves the role that props plays in the show. “It is interesting to see how they blend into the background,” she said.

Paint

Armed with paintbrushes and paint cans, the paint crew uses its artistic skills to bring color and life to the stage.

Although she has only one-and-a-half years of experience, junior Moriah Bradski is in charge of the paint department for “Macbeth.” Bradski believes that the hardest part is paint’s position in tech. “We’re at the bottom of the tech hierarchy chain, which can mean that we have to come to work at some pretty awkward meeting times,” she said. Paint, according to Bradski, often only knows the schedule at the last minute.

Junior Nele Thode’s least favorite part of tech has to do with her personal fears.  “In ‘Rimers,’ we had to paint the back wall on a platform, and I am afraid of heights,” she said.

Still, Bradski values her contribution to tech. “We really bring the set and the play to life,” she said.  Thode agree that the most rewarding aspect is seeing the transformation. “The best part of paint is painting,” she said. “Seeing what we have painted in the play is very exciting.”

Makeup

The makeup crew’s talent for art makes the actors’ faces come to life on stage.

Makeup head senior Maddy Atmore teaches her crew the basics of stage makeup as well as how to make the performer look old, young or whatever else the performer needs to become. Each crew member is assigned a character to work with throughout the whole production.

While makeup is not the first thing the audience notices on stage, it makes a huge difference in the overall look of a show. “With no makeup, stage lights will completely wash you out and make you look like a flat pancake with two holes for eyes,” Atmore said.  According to Atmore, as well as making the performers look like real people, makeup also has a hand in portraying someone’s age or how they live.

The challenges of makeup mostly come in the teaching and practice phase, according to Atmore. “The art and technique of stage makeup can be really challenging to perfect and then to teach to others,” she said.

According to Atmore, however, the finished result is worth the challenge. “It’s so rewarding to see something that you designed on stage on someone’s face and realize that you transformed them,” she said. “It’s the final, finishing touch that makes it all come together and makes the magic happen.”

Costumes

The costume crew combines its research skills with artistic talent to create the costumes for Gunn’s productions. According to assistant costume head junior Abi Milner, the crew uses books and the Internet to find information about the time period it is working with. Then the crew designs patterns, buys materials and sews the costumes. For many productions, the crew can take costumes from past productions and modify them. However, for “Macbeth,” many of the costumes have to be made from scratch as the time period is a new one.

“The challenges are coming up with ideas and making the costumes fit,” Milner said. “Things rip and we also have to make them look good on stage because it looks different. The colors change based on the lights they use.”  According to costume head junior Julia Scott, other challenges include finding lost costume parts during performances as well as staying organized. “The most rewarding part is seeing it on stage,” Scott said. “If a costume is truly well done, the audience shouldn’t notice it because it fits the character so well.”

According to Scott, although creating the costumes is hard work, the sense of community and achievement makes it all worth it. “I love being around a group of people who are passionate about something being wonderful,” she said. Milner agrees. “It’s very rewarding,” Milner said. “I love theatre but I’m not a performer, and this way I can still be involved.”

Lights

In the production of the play “Macbeth,” the stage tech lights crew makes sure that the correct lighting is present in the correct scene.

In lights crew, the students work with more artistic features for the play. They decide what kinds of lights should and should not be used in certain scenes with the main focus being on making “Macbeth” resemble its ancient setting. “It’s very intellectually challenging,” lights crew member junior Janine Rogers said. “There are three different kinds of work: physical work, intellectual work, artistic work.”

Through the challenges, the crew works together to figure them out, teaching not only each other, but also themselves. “You learn a lot just by going along and trying it out,” lights crew member sophomore Leena Chen said. Lights are what foreshadow the events in each scene, and the lights  crew is in charge of sending these moods directly and clearly to the audience. “You’re working backstage, it’s about people collaborating, working together and having a good experience,” Rogers said. “It’s all about making sure the audience is having a good experience. It’s all about the audience.”

Sound

Stage tech’s sound crew works behind the scenes in order to make the mood of the scene and characters more clear to the audience. Sound crew ensures that the sound is working correctly and is timed accurately corresponding to the actors.

Sound crew makes sure that certain sound effects or music pieces come in precisely along with controlling the microphones on the actors. “Sound crew goes into the booth where the computers are and sort through the music files,” sound crew member sophomore Julia Axelrod said. “Closer to the date of the show our crew sets up the headsets for communication during the show and the microphones for the actors.” Sound crew is crucial for foreshadowing and creating a certain mood in productions while recreating the story line in the correct context. According to Axelrod, sound crew exaggerates the characters’ emotions that can’t be figured out by the acting on the stage alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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