The actors are in place, the lights come on, and the play begins. Those that make this possible are hiding backstage waiting on cues.
The unsung heroes of the theater are the ones never seen. The lighting techs, the costume designers, the make-up artists and the set builders are never in the spotlight that they so painstakingly make perfect.
“The point of a tech is to not be seen or heard. No one in the audience is suppose to know they are there,” said sophomore Sydney Walter.” Tech is amazing. It’s a beautiful aspect and it helps create the show as much as the actor does.”
A lot of long hours go into making the set, the costumes, and props. Long nights are spent working on the visual aspects of the play.
“Most of our wardrobe is made by hand. This show in particular, the style of clothing is out so we have to make our own,” said sophomore Kayla Belk.
Many times the props have to be built by hand because the school does not have the budget to buy or even rent.
To watch a play, you see the set, backdrop, and props already finished, but the work that goes into this creation is time consuming and hard.
To get the lights and cues right, the lighting tech and the stage manager have to get the actors in place, then try different lights to ensure the actor and scenery are both lit properly. This continues until every scene and act is completed.
“There is no theater without your tech department,” said Rebecca Faulds, professor of Speech/Theater. “To do true theater, you need the space, the audience, the actors, costume and lights because it all comes together to create the picture.”
Everyone in the theater department knows and understands what goes into making the set and the other technical aspects of the play.
“We expect our techies to get up on stage and audition for a big show so they can understand what the actors do as well as having the actors do tech work so they can appreciate and understand what the techs do,” said Faulds.
Doing this gives the actors and techs opportunities to see and take part in all the aspects of theater.
“I’ve never been a stage manager before. I feel like I’ll appreciate what the backstage people do whenever I am an actor and what they have contributed to the show,” Belk said.
The people backstage do not receive as much spotlight as the actors, but this does not affect the way they feel about their jobs.
“It’s not essential. Because I know as well as the other crews backstage, we worked our butts off to build an incredible set and amazing lights. We don’t need the recognition to know that we put on the best show we could,” said Walter.
These attitudes are what make the play worthy of seeing. The best actors in the world could perform on stage, but if the set and lighting are off, the play is not as good.
The actors at TJC are phenomenal, but the next time you see a play, give a little extra clap to those you don’t see on the stage.