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Behind the Scenes of Theatre West


Throughout the school year, the Theater West is constantly hard at work to put on entertaining plays for the student body to enjoy.  Original and collaborative effort is required for these shows to be successful. While the superb student actors and actresses receive the glory they deserve, the stage crew is not always properly recognized for their efforts. These heroes are the hidden force that are responsible for the light and sound effects, costumes, props, sets, scenery, and other vital proponents of the production. In essence, without stage crew, there would be no Theater West.

The first job of stage crew is to construct the sets used in the play. These sets are constructed from scratch, and completely done by the stage crew. This includes everything from construction to painting. This responsibility extends past the initial construction, as the prop managers in stage crew must aid in the movement and positioning of the props between scenes of the play.

Another aspect of the stage crew’s responsibilities is costume design. With the limited budget, the design team is given specific restrictions to work with, dramatically increasing the difficulty of the job. Typically, the costume design team alters the outfits used from previous High School West productions. After long hours of work and manipulation of the resources provided, the costumes can be seen in past plays such as The Odd Couple and Spamalot.

During the play, the stage crew is responsible for the lighting and sound effects.  “In lighting we have the on-stage lights and spot lights. In sound we have the headsets, floor microphones for the stage, the sound tracks, and the microphones for the actors,” says freshman Michael Perdios, who was the stage crew manager in Candlewood for 3 years. “It is a lot of work; we sometimes stay until 9 pm to get everything ready.”

The stage crew is a significant part of the theater production. “Without us, they would have to buy the sets, lights, and a sound guy. Essentially, without us there would be an additional cost of about $15,000,” Perdios added.

Ninth grade actress Cassie Krill, who is playing the main character Sam in the student-run show #HighSchool this spring, states, “They deserve more credit because they do everything. They make awesome scenery and backdrops, and they do it all quickly and flawlessly.  They are really impressive.”

Although the students in stage crew may not get the full recognition they deserve, they are not forgotten. Each member has their name and job in the play bill. Further, they get their own bow at the end of the show.

The Hills West Theater is a complex production center that involves arduous work. However, the cast finds the work rewarding. “Although the last week of practice before the show is stressful, I still enjoy every second of it,” senior Justin Caccavale concludes.

To continue to produce high quality theater productions, the Hills West Theater employs an impressive cooperative effort. The actors and actresses always get their job done, but behind the scenes, it is the stage crew who puts everything together. Every part of the production, besides the acting, is their responsibility, and their continued success in putting it all together has not gone unrecognized. With such a fantastic behind-the-scenes crew, it is no surprise that this school’s theater productions are of such high quality.