The Show Must Go On

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The Show Must Go On

Jacob Haslett, Staff Writer

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The theater is a place of self-expression and storytelling. It is a place where people go to escape the real world for a while. The reality is that the majority take what they see on stage for granted. They fail to understand the sheer amount of hard work and thought put into every production. That will soon change. If you ask people what kind of jobs or roles go into theatrical productions they will probably say something like actor/actress maybe mention lighting or sound, but there is definitely a lot more than that.

Acting, the art of taking a few words in a script and turning them into a living breathing character. When it comes to acting the first thing that anyone has to do for a performance is an audition. 

“The audition process, well it depends on the show. For the one-acts we just did we had to have a comedic monologue… and then we had to have a 30-second 60-second audition cut musical theater song,” said Lily Ray. “For our Christmas show coming up we have to do a cold read, but we have to do it in a British accent.”

 Audition parameters change depending on the needs of the production. Once you have gone through the audition process and have been called back there is stress to be had and work to be done over the coming weeks. 

Actors must make sure that they both take good care of their bodies and their voices. This is because actors need to be capable of performing what is required of the production. Whether that be singing or dancing or neither, it all depends. Rehearsals run until 8 o’clock four days out of the week, and until 10 on tech week. 

This often makes it so that other work that needs to get done does not, causing a decent amount of stress. In the weeks leading up to a production, actors need to memorize lines, blocking, and choreography. Furthermore, they need to develop that character within their minds making it easier to personify them. In the end, it is well worth the hard work, it is satisfying to see something that you have worked on for a month or longer to come to fruition. 

What most people probably notice but do not think about much is what goes in the booth. The booth is located behind the seats at the back of the auditorium where those within can see and hear everything that is happening. The first of these roles is lighting. This is pretty self-explanatory, but lighting covers everything that has to do with the lights. Those in lighting have to know where actors are going to be as well as what is intended to go on in the scene. For instance, if there is lightning they will flash the lights or if there is a specific prop or actor that is important they might make use of the spotlight. 

 

The other part of the booth is sound. Under the domain of sound is everything that has to do with balancing and making sure that nothing is overblown but the intended effect is still achieved. For example in a musical, actors need to be able to hear themselves to know when to change pitch but their sound also needs to blend with what else is going on in the scene.

 “With the sound, you just roll with the punches. If you miss the cue then you miss the cue”said Dakota Jacks. No matter what occurs, you have to make sure that if you miss something or something unintended happens you have to be able to roll with it. Although it can be stressful to have to know when and where to do something when production goes smoothly it is very satisfying. 

What most people likely do not pay much mind to is the inanimate things that are a part of a production. Set design is headed by the directors. Their designs are then taken by the cast and crew and are put together to match up perfectly, or as close as possible.

 If they do not have something in mind the cast and crew have to design the set-piece themselves. When it comes to props mostly they will be directly stated in the script. However, some are added to further the atmosphere of the setting. 

Costuming is also an integral part of a production’s success . Shanique Bruce discussed: “[Mr. Whitley] will come to me and tell me exactly what he needs… he’ll tell me a time period like 80s and we need a character that’s female or like an old man.” They will then research the time period and what was “in” fashion-wise and if they do not have a costume pre-ordered they will go into the costume closet to find something for the production. 

The main stressor of  costumers during a show is if a quick change is needed. They will then have to assist any actors, who require a quick change, in the wings having to quickly unbuckle shoes and change shirts in a matter of minutes. They make the theater seem magical.

 The next upcoming production is the winter radio play: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Make sure to come and enjoy the show, bring your family and friends, and have fun.