Tech crew veteran gets a glimpse of the spotlight


Graphic by Megan Peng ’25

Megan Peng '25, School Staff

There are multiple components that make up the final results of a production: at the forefront, there are the leads of the show, and behind them, the ensemble who assist them choreographically and vocally — and the scaffolding that supports them all, the tech crew who work diligently, making costumes and props, building sets, manning lights, and more. Dedicating to each one of these roles takes commitment, and most importantly, time. I joined the ensemble for Shrek The Musical, and I’m here to determine if it’s worth it or not. 

Being a part of the ensemble is a great way to experience what goes on behind the scenes of a production without having to worry too much about the problems of managing time, or other after-school activities. Only needing to be called two to four times a week allows for time to enjoy rehearsals after school, while also having time to study at home. Since most rehearsals begin at 3:30 p.m. or later, time allows me to catch up on studies or discuss things with teachers during C&C. 

An exceptionally worthy benefit to being a part of the ensemble is the atmosphere — having the opportunity to be with and learn from the upperclassmen who are more experienced in theater, both in the acting and technical aspect, is extremely beneficial in learning more about the process of combining choreography and other components of theater together. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to sing without being put in the spotlight — both figuratively and literally. Since I’m not very comfortable in front of large crowds, nor am I any good at singing or dancing, I don’t have to worry about anyone paying attention to me, hence I can enjoy an unencumbered group performance. 

Considering the fact that I auditioned for the ensemble on Jan. 19, a few weeks after rehearsal had already started, it did feel quite rushed, as there wasn’t much time to effectively learn the material from previous rehearsals. If a student who didn’t have any knowledge at all about music theory or dance were to audition for the ensemble, it would have been relatively difficult to be consistent and keep up with rehearsals. However, despite that, the convenience of only being called only a few times a week makes room for the chance to practice at home as well. 

I was assigned to help with costumes both times when I signed up to help with tech for “Radium Girls” and the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, and I found that being in this position allowed me to communicate more and form friendships with the actors which varied from grade to grade, allowing me to meet and interact with new people. The most satisfying part about working backstage is having the opportunity to see the things you’ve contributed to being displayed on stage, which feels rather rewarding, especially if you’ve worked on it as a group. 

Compared to being in the ensemble, being a part of tech takes up less time in the long run since coming to rehearsal is not required. Optional “build days” are open to participate over the weekend as well, which is fairly convenient since it does not disrupt any plans during the school week. 

Tech week is a week where all the cast and crew are called to run though the shows and to finalize any decisions about blocking, sets, etc.. From experience, being a part of the technical crew will often consume more time than being a part of the cast, as they are often expected to arrive earlier and leave later during this period, which can be somewhat inconvenient if you expect to have any tests or quizzes that week. Hence, being apart of the ensemble will reduce the amount of stress during tech week. 

This is the first time I’ve experienced being provided a role in a high school production, and comparing it to the experience I’ve had as a member of the tech crew, I’d much rather work backstage. I lack a great deal of experience in acting or singing, so I’m vastly biased toward working on tech, as I find it to be more gratifying and entertaining. In addition, I’m not a very consistent person; preference varies from person to person, but due to my inability to manage time properly while also committing to another activity after school, I would rather participate in helping with tech than being in the ensemble.