Neither Seen Nor Heard: Tech in Presentation Theater


Isabella Granqvist, Reporter

On opening night, as people file into the theater, the actors frantically fix their costumes and warm up their voices behind the curtain. The band prepares their music for the show. And the tech crew does what they do best: they become invisible.

The tech crew is a group of people responsible for handling and changing props and sets, controlling lighting and keeping the actors on their cues behind the scenes of any theater show at Presentation.

Being a member of tech crew is no glamorous feat. There’s a lot of time and preparation behind every decision, whether it be something as small as a quick change backstage or the heavy lifting involved when it comes to moving sets.

“Kristin and I have brought on many tables in our days,” said junior Rebecca Zane with a laugh, referring to fellow technician senior Kristin Greenfield.

The tech crew enters the picture a few weeks before the show’s run, where they’ll spend anywhere from five to six hours after school each day rehearsing with the cast to make sure everything is perfect for the show.

Currently the actors are preparing for Beauty and the Beast, while the tech crew will start their work on October 22 and will continue working until the show’s run is done.

While the audience will pay the tech crew no mind during the show, backstage the environment can often be very stressful for a technician. Between using a headset to coordinate the sets, making sure the lighting cues are correct, and helping actors with their costumes and props, it can get very hectic very quickly.

“It’s a high-pressure environment during a show when you’re like, ‘Okay, we need a quick change and we need it now,’” said tech crew member Guinevere Barnett, senior.

But it’s not all blood, sweat, and tears. Amidst the stress of it all, the tech crew does become very close very quickly.

“When you’re spending several hours every day after school for three and a half weeks with a group of people, you become very close to them,” said Barnett. “And it’s nice.”

Although the tech crew is such an instrumental part of making Presentation theater happen, they are rarely mentioned outside the theater community. This doesn’t bother senior Maggie Curtin, though.

“Our job is kind of to be invisible… The whole point is that you’re supposed to be a little ghost. You’re supposed to be the magic,” Curtin said.

Zane agreed, saying, “It is our job to be invisible. And you know you have a good tech if you don’t really notice what’s going on.”

Indeed, the tech crew does seem reminiscent of Santa’s elves, magical beings working tirelessly for an event they’ll never reveal their faces for. But when the actors finally take their bows, the tech crew can sigh in relief, knowing they’ve done everything they could to make sure the show goes according to plan.

So as the actors perfect their makeup, the band goes over last-minute changes and the audience finds their seats on opening night, the tech crew dons their black apparel and gets ready to do their part to make the magic of theater happen.