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Setting the stage

Tech, stage crew prepare for upcoming musical

Graphic+by+Katie+Painter
Graphic by Katie Painter

Graphic by Katie Painter

Graphic by Katie Painter

Story by Cassidy Bayliss, reporter

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Seeing her vision come to life, sophomore Kennedy Tomasi put the finishing touches on a grotto. Tomasi spent more than 65 hours building and painting the set of “The Little Mermaid.”

As stage manager, she has a number of things to supervise during the show.

“I am in charge of the whole backstage, all of the movie props, the fly system, [the rigging system for moving lights and curtains],” Tomasi said. “It is kind of stressful, but I love to do it.”

With two decades of experience under his belt, stagecraft teacher Chuck Boyles knows that his students are eager to see the completed product.

“The Little Mermaid” show dates.

“I have worked with tech and stage crew for a little over 20 years,” Boyles said. “The thing that makes my students so driven is seeing the final result during the performance.” 

Tomasi agreed that the shows are rewarding.

“At first, it is just an empty stage,” Tomasi said. “But when it comes together, it is amazing because you know that you did all that work for it to turn out this way.”

Senior Crispin VonWinklepleck began working on stage crew back in 2016 for the fall musical.

“My best friend talked me into doing stage crew for Addams Family and I got very intrigued about how everything was built and what it took to put it all together,” VonWinklepleck said. “We piece together platforms into a square, rectangle, triangle, really any shape you can imagine. Then, we build up from scratch to get the shape we want.”

Senior Blake Simons said he enjoys the friendships he has made whilst being on stage crew.

“I really enjoy building things and working with my hands,” Simons said. “The friendship that everyone offers is the best thing about being a part of stage crew, everyone is very welcoming and friendly.”

Like most tech directors, Boyles chooses jobs for students based on skill. There are also certain days the stage crew works on the set.

The friendship that everyone offers is the best thing about being a part of stage crew, everyone is very welcoming and friendly.”

— Blake Simons

“We work all throughout the school day, evening and weekends until everything is completed.” Boyles said. “We try and have specific times on Tuesdays and Thursdays to have structural repetitive things, but oftentimes that does not give us flexibility.”

Most of the materials used for the production are from previous shows.

“A lot of the parts of the set we do build from scratch, but we also take parts from shows in the past and refurbish them,” Tomasi said. “We took some old tables from ‘Addams’ and we are using it for ‘Little Mermaid’.”

Boyles officially began his teaching career this semester, and said he is eager to instruct.

“Stagecraft has been around unofficially for over three years, but it officially started this semester,” Boyles said. “[I was] the lab instructor under Mr. Shaw’s guidance, [but now] I just received my teaching license and was contracted as an official teacher.”

Tomasi said she plans to continue to work on tech crew to achieve her goal of someday working for the big screen.

“I love tech and theatre. I wanted to learn more about it so I could be the best tech person that I could be,” Tomasi said. “I plan on being involved in it through my senior year because I want to build sets for movies. I think this is a really good way to get ready for that.”

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Setting the stage