Being in a stage crew


The tech booth works hard behind the auditorium seats. Photo Credit: Ethan Clark

Ethan Clark, Staff Reporter

Running the lights and sound, or being in a stage crew during a play or theatrical event, is a unique experience. The feeling of being in control of a small part of a larger production is both power inducing and humbling. If one thing messes up, it can throw off the rest of the crew and actors, but if someone else messes up, it can confuse and disrupt the technicians, making stage production an exercise in trust. Trusting people is never easy, but in a theater crew, it comes naturally. Everyone working together creates a connection that is invisible, until the production night comes and everyone stands back to admire their work and collaboration.

The seats of the Manatee High School Auditorium. Photo Credit: Ethan Clark

Running each section is individually easy. Press a button or pull a switch to turn certain lights off, to lower the curtain, or to just play a song. The real difficulty is doing all of these things in sync and not always in communication range, as the technicians cannot yell out to the stage in the middle of production. For that, mics are given to specific technicians in charge of the most important areas, such as the light and soundboards and the stage manager. With everyone else, cues have to be made to signal for certain performances, with some even being built off other people’s jobs. An example would be the lights coming on when the music starts, or the lights dimming and music fading as an act says their final lines.

An example of this going off successfully would be the recent Manatee High Homecoming Talent Show. The minor but important event showcased many of Manatee County’s most talented students, and as such, the tech crew had to coordinate together to not make the performers look bad. Through careful effort, the team managed to showcase the gifted pupils, with only a few mistakes behind the scenes. Due to their hard work and effort, the tech team received a special round of applause for their work, leading to a few members pledging to help out again in the future.

If anyone has not experienced the “magic” of being in a stage crew, definitely give it a chance. Despite the hard work, it is worth it to get that round of applause and hear people talking about how good that everyone all did. It is an experience that lasts a lifetime, plus the community service hours are an added bonus. If anyone has any interest at all in stage production, speak to Ms. Catell in Room 114, building 8.