Backstage crew plays critical role in shows



Chloe Barber, Staff Writer

An electric guitar is heard strumming the national anthem, followed by a video of a news report. Lights shine on a group of actors onstage wearing elegant business suits. A framework of industrial pipes and exposed lights set the scene. Before the actors even speak, the work of a whole team of students in the backstage crew is already on exhibit.

Many unfamiliar with theater are unaware of the sheer amount of work done by backstage crews. Jobs usually include costuming, lighting and sound design, stage management, and production assistants. Nothing can occur onstage without all of the work backstage.

Sophomore Greg Kim prepares the tech aspects of a school production/PROVIDED BY LEXI MATUSON
Sophomore Greg Kim prepares the tech aspects of a school production/PROVIDED BY LEXI MATUSON

According to senior Mikayla Lazowski, working backstage gives students the chance to learn how a show is made behind the scenes.

“I think it’s a lot of fun to work behind the set and see all of the technical stuff that happens,” Lazowski said. “Because sometimes on stage, you only see the final product, and it’s really nice to see the little things that we had to take into consideration to build the whole product.”

Junior Shalinee Maitra is a costumer for Julius Caesar. Maitra said that she appreciates working backstage, while avoiding the stress of performing.

“It feels really rewarding to be able to have contributed so much to a show,” Maitra said. “Yet you don’t have the pressure of learning lines, messing up on stage, that kind of thing.”

Drama teacher and Julius Caesar director Mary Mastandrea considers the backstage crew the backbone of any production because their work is always needed.

“The crew is essential to every part of the show,” Mastandrea said. “You just don’t necessarily see them. You can go to any rehearsal and see how the actors are just the bare bones of the show, but without the crew lighting them, costuming them, sound designing them and putting them on a set, you probably wouldn’t want to see that production too much.”

Unfortunately, some backstage crew members feel their work is frequently overlooked, according to Maitra.

“For people who aren’t in the theater world, I think production is really forgotten and they don’t realize how much work is put into parts of a show that aren’t acting,” Maitra said. “But so much of a play, and making a play more realistic, is production.”

According to Mastandrea, theater productions always need and appreciate talented tech crew.  

“I love actors, they’re great, but we’re always going to have actors,” Mastandrea said. “It’s the tech kids we worry we don’t have sometimes because their skills are so valuable. Our tech kids are so responsible and enhance productions so much.”