Theater’s Looking Snatched So Far

Theaters Looking Snatched So Far

Gabrielle Stancliff, Assistant Editor

As a new school year rips the summer bandaid off, Performing Arts teacher Scott Wright has theater kids buzzing about the in-progress Erie production, The Blood Brothers.

Ever since last May, our talented tigers have been rehearsing, memorizing and perfecting their soon-to-be production. A new generation of students bring “fresh blood” to the competitive atmosphere both on and backstage. Nathan Hughes, a student who participated in last year’s spring musical, The Music Man, was ecstatic when witnessing how the tech aspect of theater interacts with the actors. Hughes claimed it was “a whole new experience seeing the heroes in black keep the show problem-free for the duration of rehearsals through show week.”

So far, the average tech person at Erie spends about two to three hours a day for a month after school working on their projects. During tech week, (the week before the show) every actor, technician , and pit musician is asked to spend four to five hours extra after school until the end of show week. In total, an Erie stage technician spends about 82 hours after school per show. Not only in Erie, but on bigger stages like Broadway or West End, Stage Tech is responsible for a bevy of different jobs that help make the show look good and move smoothly.

Currently, two very involved tech students elaborated on what their roles are in the Scene Shop. Celina Laslow, a sophomore, is building an extendable window to attach to one of the major set pieces that will be seen on stage frequently. This set piece is not a giant tree, nor a lamppost- but a lifesize section of a house on wheels. She is also one of the many other crew members aiding in adding brick exterior to the majority of their set pieces, and the pit section. Laslow has acted in some of Erie’s productions such as Fame! Jr., The Original and One Acts; she has also teched for The Music Man. She says, “We’re literally building everything that’s seen on stage. There’s a lot of new people this year, so we have to teach them the importance of being focused at all times.”

Bella Tapia, a junior, has participated in stage tech since her freshman year. She and two other students are in charge of collecting all of the props the show needs. From finding old baby carriages to the handheld stage guns, prop shopping is a job easier said than done. Tapia claimed,” Without props your show is going to need really good actors, or just a better script. It’s really hard finding everything that was used in a certain time period, especially if they’re vintage. It can just cost the department a lot of money for a simple thing, so it’s really frustrating.”

Although a larger tech crowd is very beneficial to the flow of the show, some students complained that the shortage of power tools and hardware was a difficult obstacle in building certain sets. When a job calls for three power drills and another calls for two, students are inclined to use the one power drill that works out of the 5 other broken ones. Inventory on the master cabinet in Erie’s Scene Shop includes one screwdriver, one flathead and one pipe wrench.

One underclassman technician stated, “ I always assumed all the tools and everything we need would be here, but I guess most of the money for our department comes from people who pay to see the shows. And that’s very limiting to what we can buy for our tool cabinet 

Tech is what makes the show shift from one scene to another without having the audience know- like magic.”

— Bella Tapia

The stress of a show is one thing, but the stress of constant homework, studying and test preparation isn’t Erie’s first rodeo at all. The majority of the tech crew is taking at least one AP class, and aren’t letting their hard work in both tech and school get in their way of success! With two more weeks of rehearsal left, Blood Brothers cast and crew continues to push their efforts and strengths into perfecting what could be the beginning of an iconic show season.