Stage crew prepares for upcoming shows

Though people say the stage is the home of the actors, they can’t shine to their fullest potential without the diligent help of their faithful run and stage crew. The actors/actresses act, the
directors direct, but what about stage crew? How do they involve themselves in this art?

“It depends on what crew you’re in. I strictly do costumes, makeup, and hair because I am the crew head for them. But we put together the costumes for the show. We make sure it fits everyone. Sophomore Siena Pietraszak does props. (She’s crew head for props). They read through the script more intensively than I do, and they pull all the props that they need. And then construction builds the sets, lighting does lighting, and sound does sound. Kind of self explanatory,” said senior Halia Beutel.

As expressed, stage crew has many different roles and crews to participate in the makings of the show altogether. Though different, they come together to make the ending a masterpiece. Each crew has their own jobs in preparing for plays and sets.

“So the upcoming play we have is ‘Rumors,’ and we have already started taking out all of the lights from the grid. We also recorded our last show that we just previously did. And then start a new
one, a new folder, and then either focus different lights in different areas and make sure everything’s good. If any light bulb’s burnt out, we’d go up and we would fix them. Then we start queuing for the show,” said senior Gus Calhoun.

With each crew assigned and enthusiastically working on their designated work fields, they’re sure to start and end every play in their own harmonious manner. Continuously prodding the idea of offering positions to students willing to join the group, stage crew welcomes anyone interested in the arts of setting the show.

“Stage crew offers a lot of opportunities to make friends, build a community, and learn so many new skills and just have a fun time,” said sophomore Addison Kamilis.

Stage crew offers a familial aspect which welcomes people with a warm smile and constant unity. Though they offer a safe haven to enjoy yourself and your arts, there’s plenty of in-depth reasons why students should join stage crew and the black box community in general.

“For the amazing people, because even if you’re maybe not a good actor or thinking, ‘hm, that doesn’t seem interesting,’ you’ll fall in love with the people and you’ll find out that no matter what, you’ll have a fun time whether you’re in the show or part of crew, whatever crew you’re on. It’s just a great, positive environment, and you learn so many new things and make so many friends,” Kamilis said.

Along with that, as unified as stage crew can be, they have plenty of other reasons why students should think about participating, including applicable real world skills and interests.

“Other students should join stage crew; one because we need it obviously, but it’s a different experience. Most of our classes here at Grayslake North don’t offer a lot of the things that we do in stage crew, for instance, woodworking. Woodworking, you have to go to Central, but here at North, because if you’re in construction, you get to work with power tools and saws and drills,” Calhoun said.

Outlining stage crew’s roles, opportunities, and activities suddenly provides clarity upon the specialties stage crew wields beyond recognition of the performance itself. The actors and actresses
deserve their fame under lights, but stage crew requires the same amount of acknowledgement as they put their blood, sweat, and tears into making the show as flawless as they can make it.

“It’s a lot more technical. Acting is memorization, very emotional, not in a mean way. But, you have to embody a character, whereas stage crew, I think, is a little bit more applicable to late life. You
need to know how to put a screw in drywall, or how to fix a button if it pops off. Stuff like that. So, I think that stage crew can be more important, in my opinion. Otherwise, they’re very similar. They’re both very necessary for a show to come together. You cannot have a show if you don’t have a crew. But you also can’t have a show if you don’t have actors. I think they need to work together to put on a really good show,” Beutel said.

As special as stage crew is in the black box theater, it holds a far more special spot in the hearts of all its members. Though everyone in the team may be unique in their own ways, they can rely on their love of stage crew to bring them closer together and to bring new meanings to their lives. Looking to stage crew to deliver happiness and joy, students give their minutes, hours, and days to enjoy the community the group itself carries.

“I have always struggled with human interactions. I don’t have too many friends, but I have a community with theater that I wouldn’t have otherwise, especially crew. I have a bunch of other stage crew people who I’m buddies with and then my crew is very close to me and my heart. And they’re all so sweet. I’m so happy I get to work with them,” Beutel said.

As helpful as stage crew has been to the theater production team and the black box theater in all, they cannot enforce all of this work alone. They also require the special assistance of the members in run crew.

“Stage crew really prepares for everything leading up to the show. So the construction of the set, props for the actors, costumes for the actors, making sure all the actors are measured and stuff, lighting, sound, and getting mics if needed. Run crew is what’s actually happening during the performances. So during a live performance, run crew will make sure all of the props and all of the set pieces are in place and ready to go for the show. And we have two really good leaders in our run crew, Olivia Gardiner and Caitlin Wollner, and they’re very good at what they do and they help command everyone. Throughout the show, they make sure everything stays on track,” Calhoun said.