It's the middle of the night before the show opens. The cast is at home, resting up for the big moment. Meanwhile, the techies (technicians) are still at school, doing all they can to make everything perfect. This dedicated group of students does all the behind-the-scenes work. From makeup to costumes and props, from sound to lights and sets, these kids do it all.
At Lee High School, the Theatre Arts program is primarily student driven. Theatre Director Trena Weiss-Null prides herself in training student professionals who are capable of handling the most intricate and advanced technical aspects of a show. The Executive Board at Lee is made up of four "A"-licensed technicians. These students are in charge of various technical aspects of the theater: Dave Watkins is the technical director, Beckah Smith is the theater manager, Chris Skiba is the master electrician, and Katie Little is the publicity manager.
In Lee's upcoming production "Bye Bye Birdie," several impressive technical elements will be used. "We are going to utilize multiple intelligent lighting fixtures, as well as standard lighting fixtures, to create more distinctive areas in the show," said technical director Dave Watkins. There are many different settings in the musical, and this effect would be impossible to create with set alone, due to Lee's lack of stage space.
Because there are so many scene changes, a 15-foot diameter turntable will be included in the set. "The turntable will help us to make the multiple scene changes smoothly and quickly," said Watkins.
More than 120 costumes will be used for the 47-person cast. Liz Hebert, a junior, who is the costume designer for the show, has a hobby of searching out vintage clothing. She is extremely excited about doing the show and has been looking for vintage designs for weeks.
There are students painting sandwich boards, inventorying sound and lights equipment, painting, building sets, acquiring props, designing posters, and ordering makeup. These aspiring theater professionals take their work very seriously. Many have summer or after-school jobs in theaters or doing related jobs. Others are just enjoying their avocation while waiting to enter pre-vet, psychology, or computer programs in college. Whether they are planning on pursuing careers in theater, or just love putting on plays, none of these talented students make light of their jobs. They all realize that the only way one ends up with a quality show is by approaching it seriously, professionally, and with passion.
Next time you enter a high school auditorium, take a moment to think about all the work that it takes to put on a production. Although slaving away in a cold, dark auditorium all night may sound like fun, techies don't do it for their health. They want you to see their work and appreciate it as a part of the show. Please acknowledge the techies; they deserve it. Remember, above all, according to Watkins, "Techies rule."