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Crew provides a behind-the-scenes look at fall play

It’s 3:15pm, and the shop is opened up for the crew to start building. A team of high school students begins work on a variety of projects ranging from building 2’ 8″ platforms to crafting a 20-foot-tall fence.

This team of students, those who build the set and handle logistics behind a theatre production, are known as “crew.” Crew works 4 to 5 days per week, from about 3:15 to 6:00pm, getting everything prepped and ready to be put on stage.

Crew is currently preparing for the next Sandburg theater department production, the fall play. This year’s fall play is The Laramie Project. 

Crew’s construction in progress

Each crew meeting starts with Mr. Powers, English teacher and coordinator of the crew, telling crew what they are going to be building. He explains the steps that need to be done, and tells them to get to work.

Teams split up to make sure everything gets done on time. They grab their materials and begin work. There are measuring tapes, wood, pencils, and nails everywhere, but it all makes sense to them.

People who are in crew have a lot of responsibility between builds, lights, and technology, and they work hard to complete it all before the show’s deadline.

Laurie Nelson, who has been in crew for two years, states, “There are many roles for different interests within crew, including building, audio, and lighting. We mainly construct and decorate the sets for the school’s theater programs.”

A behind-the-scenes look at set prep for the fall play

The members of crew are in charge of not only building platforms and set pieces, but also putting everything in place for the cast to practice on. There are times when crew has to work on the stage, and they have to try not to make too much noise.

Daisy Silva, a member of the cast says, “Everyone thinks it’s funny how when crew was working on the set, they would use loud mechanical tools and we can’t really hear anyone, people have to read the cast’s lips to know when they are next for their line.”

As the opening night of the play, October 19, approaches, crew has to work much more diligently and efficiently to get all of the projects done by the deadline. The sound of the last screw being drilled. The stroke of the last bit of black paint being painted onto the wood. The last build being put into place. All tasks completed by crew to ensure a magical production.

When opening night arrives, crew will be running around, moving sets, pulling the curtains up and down, and making sure everything runs smoothly. 

When the play is over, crew is still not done. They take everything apart, and get it all sorted to use again in the spring for the next production. Each piece of material gets put into its own place: the scrap wood on the back table, 2 ‘4″ pieces on the racks, plywood on the bottom rack. Tools in the back room, and tech pieces in the hallway closet between the stage and shop. Making sure everything is put away is a vital step for crew, so that it is easier to find and use when needed again. 

The “shop” that Crew works out of and its many valuable tools

The crew has a significant part in contributing to the final outcome of the performance. With the help of this diligent team, Sandburg theater productions are a little bit of magic.

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