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Marshall High Rehearses for ‘Amadeus’

‘Techies’ help shape play

Lauren Friedman, stage manager of Marshall High School’s upcoming production of "Amadeus," credits "voodoo algebra" for developing the mathematical formula that was used to design the arches of the set for the play.

Theater teacher Mark Krikstan says that for every actor on the stage, there are four or five "techies" like Lauren backstage who make the production a success.

Because he begins the production with a deeper knowledge of the show than the students, Krikstan said, "I set the parameters only because I know the play better. But the design is not just my own," he said.

For "Amadeus," Marshall’s fall play that is now in rehearsal, Krikstan knew what he wanted the stage set to look like.

"We were trying to get a baroque look," he said. "You don’t know the way curves are until you realize that every curve you do is not the right curve."

Krikstan said he started with a drawing of Cardinal Richelieu’s private theater, dated about 100 years before the play was set.

"I found a drawing of it," he said.

"I asked, how do I recreate it for the stage? I had the design in mind and she solved the design problem using her high school math."

Friedman, who is studying for the International Baccalaureate degree at Marshall, is taking higher level math, which includes trigonometry and geometry.

"Lauren’s strong trigonometry background has been essential for the design, and, ultimately, building the set," said Krikstan.

"I really just love to create stuff," said Friedman. "I love to watch something form.

"Tech is fulfilling to me; watching everything come together. I get to watch the actors doing the same thing. Everything always comes together in time."

Friedman is also the stage manager for "Amadeus," meaning "she knows the show better than anyone else," Krikstan said.

"She takes notes, and works with actors that miss a rehearsal. She knows every cue — for sound and light and set changes.

Lauren uses a head set to keep up.

Friedman acted once, appearing as the dressmaker in "Hotel Paradiso" last spring. "I was on stage for about 30 seconds," she said.

She finds all-black costume and low-profile demeanor of a techie’s role just as fulfilling, she said.

That’s why she wants to major in theater arts in college.

"Good stage managers are hot commodities," said Krikstan.

"‘Amadeus’ was written by Peter Shaefer in 1980," said Krikstan.

"It met with immediate acclaim."

"Mozart was an incredibly interesting character," he said, but the playwright focused on "describing in even more detail all those who were jealous of Mozart."

"The main character was really Salieri. He was angry at God for giving ‘this obscene child’ a beautiful gift and not giving [Salieri], the pious believer, the same gift. He goes out to destroy Amadeus. The music is the central motif, but the real story is the tension of the heart. It’s more about heartstrings than violin strings," said Krikstan.

The play will be presented Nov. 7 - 10 at Marshall High School’s auditorium, located on Route 7 just inside I-495.