by Melissa T., Concordia Applied Journalism
With the crisp chill of Fall, most people begin to think about sitting by a warm fire, drinking cider, and relaxing with friends. Here at Concordia however, there’s been an exciting buzz as students readied themselves for the annual autumn play. As enthralling as the Lord of the Flies was on the Rittmann stage, there is a certain group who worked just as hard as the actors to make sure that things ran smoothly leading up to and through the performances.
Aiyan Lanker recently shared some of the challenges of the backstage manager. Whether it be sound, lights, or stage design, the struggle to keep tabs on every aspect of the stage crew operation has kept her mind busy.
“I joined theatre because the first day I came to rehearsal last year with Harper [a graduated senior] I saw the community and the family that the theatre was, and I wanted to be a part of it," she says.
Behind the scenes, the actors and stage hands are a close bunch and create a bond that is strong enough to infect others with the bug for theater. For the backstage manager, this intensive interaction presents specific challenges that can stretch a person’s capacity to oversee simultaneous tasks.
"Organizing the actors and crew is a challenge,” says Aiyan. “Plus making sure everything and everyone are where they need to be and making sure everything runs smoothly. I do my best to make sure everything gets done in time safely by being organized and efficient."
Without the help of the stage manager, the play could have lots of technical issues and even safety issues. It's because people like Aiyan spend hours after school to be a part of such a loving community running over scenes over and over making sure that props and actors are in the right places at the right time that the school play is able to be performed seamlessly.
At the end of the day, quality production values require a co-ordinated effort from actors, stage crew, and the directors. Even though actors are the people who get most of the well-deserved glory, backstage crews are the unsung heroes of the theater scene that help the plays go off without a hitch.
This year’s fall play is behind us now, but insight into the backstage heroes should inspire us to put the spring production on our must-see list. Being mindful of all the drama team members - both seen and unseen - can really deepen our appreciation of the theatre experience at Concordia.
moving the set back into place and making some last cleaning adjustments
Students moving the sets so they can make sure they are sound for the nights performance.
view of the set behind the wing curtain.
Students are cleaning up the debris from the set maintenance to make sure that the stage is safe for bare feet.
Catwalk from below
back behind the wing where stage crew prepares before the show making sure props are where they need to be for the actors
thin hallway at the back of the stage, this is where tools and materials for set building are stored
Checking to make sure the set is fixed
Students gather round and listen for further instruction as they prepare the set