Behind the Curtain: The Unseen Stars of the Show

Words: Sasha Allen

People go to plays to watch the onstage action, but they don’t always appreciate or even know about how much effort goes on behind the scenes. Lights, sound, sets, props, and costumes wouldn’t be a part of a play without one specific group of people: the tech crew. Without these crucial members of the show who make sure that the whole production runs smoothly, productions of plays and musicals would be less enjoyable for the audience. With this year’s production of Clue coming up, both actors and tech crew are getting ready for an exciting play.

The members of tech crew for Centennial’s production of Clue have started working already, meeting about every other week. About two weeks before the date of the play, they start meeting every day up to opening night on November 15, to assure the play runs as planned.

Tech crew is a huge commitment, and the members are working hard to get ready. Stage manager Emily Dahlgren said that the crew is busy organizing the props and the set to allow for steady scene changes. The crew also went through the script and figured out what props are needed for which scene. This, however, is not easy, and it takes a lot of research because the props need to look a certain way to reflect the setting and era of the play. “For this show specifically, the props are all very intricate,” said Dahlgren. “The main prop pieces are the weapons found in the actual game, and we’re trying to make them as close to the real game as possible.”

Dahlgren is in charge of overseeing each aspect behind the scenes to make sure everything is in order. She has been a part of theater before she started high school, but to her, it is more than just a commitment. She loves watching two different aspects of the show come together after so much hard work.

Dahlgren puts a huge amount of her time into theater, from the first rehearsals to the last show. She attends every rehearsal for the actors, every set build, and every technical rehearsal to check that everyone and everything is in the right place.

While most of the members have a specialized job, working on sound, set, lighting, or props and costumes, Dahlgren oversees all of that and more. She helps build sets, organize the props, and manages what goes on behind the scenes. The crew has a huge amount of respect for her and everything she does.

During the show, the cast doesn’t get a break. “A lot of theater is thinking on your feet,” said Dahlgren. But she isn’t just talking about the actors. There is a lot of preparation, and on the night of the show each tech crew member has to be at a certain place at a certain time, much like acting.

Kai Daley, an actor in the upcoming show, appreciates all of the hard work that the crew puts in. She says that they will help an actor whenever they need it by fixing a mic or trading in a prop, and she believes that they deserve more attention for all of the work that they put in.

“Tech crew is the last thing that brings a show together and makes it believable to the audience,” said Daley. “Nothing would be the same without [them].”

Everyone who is a part of the Clue production puts in so much time and effort whether they are an actor or a part of the crew, and they all care about making the production reach its full potential. Even though they all have different jobs, everyone who is a part of theater has one thing in common: their passion for what they are doing and the work they put in.

Clue will be running here at Centennial from November 15-17 at 7pm and on November 18 at 2pm. The tickets can be purchased for $12 online or $15 at the door. Be sure to come out and support the whole Centennial theater program!

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