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Stage crew helps GDA shows succeed behind the scenes

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Gonzaga Stage Crew – Gonzaga.org

The Gonzaga Dramatic Association hosts two shows every year. This year they hosted “The Addams Family.” The stage crew has a vast role to fit as they are what makes the show go on behind the scenes.

“You need to have the willingness to be a part of the stage crew,” said Ms. Sophia Menconi, GDA technical director.

Without them, there would be no show. 

In the months that led up to the show, everyone helped in the construction of the set, and titles only held real meaning when the show began. There are multiple assigned roles in the stage crew: run crew, loft manager, paint chief, scene shop foreman, light technician, sound technician and student technical director. 

The run crew, also known as “grunts of stage crew,” directed in building projects and then moving set pieces on and off the stage during the show. This role is usually held by the newest members of the stage crew, who are inexperienced. The loft manager helped with the construction of the main set and is in charge of running the loft during the show, which is a complex system of moving parts above the show. A computer is backstage, in which the loft manager controled what moves the loft.

The paint chief is the person who led the painting of the set, which usually occurs about a week before the show. The scene shop foreman is responsible for the scene shop, a room connected to backstage where much of the building happens. They must also be responsible for the hardware that is used and that the area is clean. They are also in charge of making sure each cue is met. The lights technician broke away from building sets early on and began working on programming the lights for the show. Very similar to the lights technician is the sound technician who had the same responsibilities as the lights technician but dealt with sound effects and the microphones for the actors.

Stage crew member working
Stage crew member working

“I often meet with the adult leaders of the play, making sure projects are being done and in agreement with the vision of the play. During the show, I manage a side of the stage,” said Daniel Huisentruit, senior, describing his roles as a student technical director.

The time commitment for these students is vastly time-consuming. For one academic year with two performances, the time commitment is about six months of coming in after school every day from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. In the week before the first performance, also known as Tech Week, students stayed until 10 p.m. on school days and come in on the weekends.

Students enjoy stage crew and the commitment because they all have the same goal in mind, trying to put on a show. 

“Many extracurriculars promote a sense of competition to be the best, but stage crew is more laid back and feels more like friends getting together to put on a show,” Huisentruit said.

The stage crew gives up their valuable time to put on a show twice in an academic year. Each member of the stage crew is responsible for building the set, but also for their individual roles as the show gets closer. Students enjoy stage crew for one main reason. 

“Everyone is working together for a common goal,” Ms. Menconi said.

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