By Colleen Stanford
In fifth grade, senior Melissa Sztuk was required to participate in the school musical. However, being on stage was not her thing. Her teacher asked her if she wanted to be on stage crew by doing props for the musical instead.
However, Sztuk’s stage crew experience was not one and done but a continued activity. She has been a dedicated member of stage crew ever since. The stage crew is the backbone of Prospect’s theater department because they create the sets, sounds, light sequencing and much more. They make it possible for the shows to be as elaborate as they are.
The stage crew has many different jobs. They make the complicated sets, they paint the scenery, they run the sound board, they help with the costumes, they coordinate the lights, and much more. But above all, they make the shows run smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
Now as stage manager, Sztuk is in charge of everything that happens backstage during the show, which involves changing sets, following the scripts and keeping everyone on task. This is no small feat.
“[Managing the crew] is trying at times,” Sztuk said, “but it is honestly so worth it because you get really close with all the people on [crew] because you are spending all these hours with them.”
According to Sztuk, the stage crew usually has about 10 people involved; however this year there are many more due to a large freshman group involved.
Caitlin Harrington is one of the many freshmen involved, and although she was very uncomfortable the first day of crew, now she knows that this is where she belongs.
“I was kind of nervous,” Harrington said,”I was also kind of awkward at first but then I kind of joined [the crew’s] little clique.”
She got involved in stage crew because she had done it in middle school, and she wanted to continue because she has lots of fun doing it.
Many crew members participate in the multiple shows that Prospect puts on throughout the school year. Harrington believes that doing multiple shows makes the crew become closer and work better together.
For Sztuk, more shows means much more work.
“[The time commitment] is still more than most after-school activities,” Sztuk said,”especially since it is three seasons, and not just like ‘Oh I’m in volleyball’ and only do that for a third of the year. It’s like this is your whole year.”
Sztuk started her freshman year being in crew and is ending her senior year being in crew. With every show that comes and goes, Sztuk’s love of stage crew never dies.
“I really like show week,” Sztuk said,”You can finally see what you have been working on for a month or month and a half finally all coming together.”
Harrington shares that same love for being in stage crew and enjoys working together on a project with the other members.
According to Harrington while the actors and actresses tend to get all of the attention, the stage crew can be pushed back more into the background. While they don’t always get the attention they deserve, it is not necessarily a bad thing for them. Many people are in stage crew because they do not want to be on the actual stage in the spotlight, but they still want to be involved.
“[The stage crew] doesn’t really need [the attention],” Harrington said.,” A lot of times we kind of like to stay in the shadows but it is nice at the end of a show to have the actors point to us in the booth or wherever and thank us for it.”