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Freshman Files: Working Backstage Practicum

Freshman Files: Working Backstage Practicum

Oct 12, 2012

Being a general theater major, you have to learn about all aspects of what to do in theater.Whether it is acting based or production design and technology based, everyone should know how to use a drill, hang a light, break down a monologue, and structure their own play!As part of my lighting and sound practicum, I have to work backstage for one of the two main stage shows.I had the choice between Lysistrata and The Rose Tattoo.I chose Lysistrata, because I wanted to see a different aspect of a show I had helped build for one of my high school's main stage shows a couple of years ago.

As part of the run crew, I have the responsibility to sweep and mop the stage before the actors are able to use it.This step is very important because the Forum Theater is one of the many places where dust likes to accumulate on everything.If there is dust on the floor, an actor or dancer may slip and hurt themselves so we have to be sure to make everything secure for them.After the stage is clean, the rest of the run crew then sets up all the props and sound equipment needed for the start of the show.We have our fight call, which we have to practice three times to make sure the actors feel safe with what they are doing.By this time it is ready to open house.All of the actors and run crew are backstage in their places for the opening number.

Right as the house opens, I have a special job to do; make sure people with wet shoes do not get on the freshly cleaned stage. This is challenging because The Forum Theater is a ¾ thrust stage- audience members usually accept the fact that they have to walk back up the stairs, out of the theatre, and to the other doors on the opposite side of the lobby (instead of just walking across the stage).While some argue with me and try to sneak behind me, I try my best to keep the performers safe from any stray puddles of water.After thirty minutes of standing guard at my post, the house manager gives me a signal to head backstage and let the performers know that we are about to get started.I exit through the vom and go to my place backstage.The music starts to play.Show time!

Backstage is a place where it is always quiet so the actors can be in character.Occasionally there are times where I have to communicate what the assistant stage manager says to the actors, but other than that I am just there if something goes wrong.Lysistrata is a very costume heavy show where there are wardrobe crew members to help the actors into and out of their quick changes.Depending on the show, there could be a lot to do or a little to do; either way, being backstage helping out with a show is always a fun experience


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