By Jamie Carter
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Many times after watching a play we will talk about the play with the ones we saw it with. If we liked the performance or not, how they did on their lines and if their voices were good when they were singing. But we rarely take into consideration all of the work that goes into setting up the plays, making sure the lighting is right, ensuring the microphones work, etc. Although the stage crew isn’t really in the shows, it does play an enormous role in how the play turns out.
“During the preshow, the stage crew builds all of the sets for the show and works on all of the lighting, which takes up a lot of time. They change all of the lights on the stage in order to fit the show, work on the movement of lights, changing colors, and adjusting how fine or foggy lights are as well as bright or dim,” says Matt Weil, crew captain for Camden County College productions.
When working on scene changes, they must test their ability of memorization by remembering when and where each piece of furniture goes during each scene. While the performances are going on, behind the stage can be rather hectic and chaotic, “moving furniture and big set pieces is almost choreographed like a dance,” says Weil. Many times certain people are set up with a specific job each night for the show. “It requires a lot of trust, timing and team work.”
The night of the show is like game time. It’s when all the countless hours of hard work pays off. Each actor is given a microphone, which is checked numerous times. The microphones are worked in the sound board. All of the different lighting effects are checked one by one to make sure there are no shadows on the stage. The cue caller is always communicating with others in the lighting booth, to let everyone know when to turn music off or on, or when actors need the curtain opened or closed.
All of the set changes must be done as fast as possible to not disrupt the flow of the performance. Microphone changes are done behind stage in between scenes. The crew controls all of the props.
“The bottom line is without stage crew, productions would not be possible. They sort of need to be a well-oiled machine for a show to be a real success,” says Weil.