Behind the Scenes of STK: The V.I.P Access

Kathryn Burke, Staff Member

When watching a theatrical performance, the audience takes notices of the actors on stage or the ensemble of dancers, and they may criticize the director’s choices for the play or musical.

Before I joined STK, I had a tremendous amount of respect for the actors, dancers, and director. Like most people, I had not considered the crew members–who work together with the cast and director–to make the performance that I was watching possible.

“If we want to have a good performance, we have to analyze scripts and research the time period that the play/musical is set in. It is a lot of research, mental preparation, and very time consuming,” explained senior Abby Trahant

No one typically thinks about the work that the actor’s put in to become their character, the work days to build and paint the set, the practices throughout the week and over the weekend, or how the set and props get moved into their proper place for the next scene. To most efficiently put on a play, it is pertinent that the actors and crew members are aware of not only what concerns them individually, but also each other’s jobs.

Throughout the two months of practice, the actor’s are working tirelessly to perfect their character. The director, who instructs the actors on their character and blocking (any kind of movement done on stage by the actors), is in charge of making sure that the set, props, and costumes (done by moi) are clearly assigned to each person it concerns and checking up on each assignment regularly. The stage manager, who writes down the blocking of each character, works with the head of sound crew and the head of lighting crew to write down cues that the stage manager will give to them during the show.

Then in the last week and a half before the first performance, the crew comes in. This week is known as “tech week” or most commonly referred to as “hell week.”  During this week, the stage manager assigns each crew member their jobs of what set piece and prop they move on and off stage. Tech week is the most stressful week since everyone is required to be in sync with one another, but it is also the week that the cast and crew grow the closest with each other and the director.

“I feel like people think that crew is a less important role than being a part of the cast but it is exactly the opposite,” said junior Grace Martin. “A show could not function without a crew, a single prop missing could throw off an entire scene. Every role is important and the show could not be put on without the crew.”

“Respecting the crew is the most important thing because they put in the most amount of work in the least amount of time with the least amount of recognition,” Trahant said.

After two months of practice, the first show is performed in front of Student Council as an invited dress rehearsal. Although it is the most nerve-wracking night, it is rewarding to get the feedback and support.

For the last performance, emotional preparation is recommended. The cast, crew, and director are not only saying goodbye to the play/musical that they have worked endlessly on, but also the seniors that will not be a part of the following year.