Technical Theater: Crew-cial to the Stage


Aaron Sha

The technical theater crew paints a backdrop for the upcoming “Wizard of Oz” musical, utilizing the color wheel and brush strokes to create a realistic, whimsical set.

Aaron Sha, Staff Writer

From the apprehensive courtroom of Salem to the mystical Land of Oz, technical theater students have been hard at work, pouring their creative juices and technical skills into the performing arts productions. An elective open to all students, technical theater, often referred to as “stage tech,” is a thriving class of 48 sophomores and freshmen.

“We’re in charge of designing all the scenic elements, acquiring all the props, designing and making the costumes, figuring out the lighting designs and how to run that and also running sound for productions for both orchestra and the actors onstage,” technical theater teacher Megan Kirby said.

There are many unique jobs and opportunities available to students during a production. Positions range from lighting director to set designer, stage manager to prop master. Tech theater is a well-oiled machine that combines the strengths of every student and expresses them in each scene and piece.

“We talk about techniques and elements of design, but mostly, it’s students doing things,” Kirby said. “So if you like to do things and not necessarily be sitting around and listening to a lot of lecture, then it’s definitely a class for that type of learner.”

One of the many crucial technical theater jobs is stage manager. A student in this position bears the heavy responsibility of overseeing all backstage activities as well as communication between all sections of production, from onstage performers to makeup crew. Sophomore Jaylin Moreno is currently the stage manager for the spring musical: “Wizard of Oz.”

“This is my second year [in tech theater],” Moreno said. “I originally joined to learn more about things that applied to all productions, not just in theater, but now I think I just enjoy the theater kids.”

“Wizard of Oz” is technical theater’s largest production yet, with the biggest budget and the largest number of cast members. Tech theater has begun building massive set pieces that require several power tools as well as teamwork on larger scales. Accounting for costume changes throughout the show, technical theater is also responsible for the acquisition of over one hundred costumes.

Yet another irreplaceable piece in the tech theater crew is sophomore Logan Dang, who currently operates the soundboard as well as works on set pieces for “Wizard of Oz.” She devotes her time to reassessing each audio-related function of the soundboard, from audio availability to mic timing, and often transitions to set work, which involves painting and building.

“I consider stage tech to be an art. Students get together to make this spectacular show, actors and crew combined. We couldn’t make a show enjoyable and appealing to the eye without stage tech, and we can’t have a show without the actors,” Dang said. “I find our jobs quite fulfilling. Considering that stage tech doesn’t get much credit for what they do makes those who work behind-the-scenes one hundred times more important to me.”