Imagine a stage filled with spooky noises and mysterious shadows within a creepy alley way, the tension building and the audience wide eyed on the edge of their seats. Now imagine a stage with absolutely no music, no lighting and no props. The difference between the two is incomparable. Technical theatre sets the tone for a performance and tells the audience where they are, what time it is and what kind of day it is- all necessities for a quality storyline. It allows for expression without spoken word and gives artists and technicians, young and old, the opportunity to create the fantastic and the magical.
Technical theatre is like a machine, in order to run smoothly all parts must work together. From lighting and props to acting and choreography, each part is essential to creating the performance. The technical elements act as the engine. When running efficiently they often go unnoticed, however they are absolutely vital for a successful show. Technical theatre is what makes a carpet fly and a pumpkin turn into a beautiful carriage.
Technical theatre also has the power to impact our youth. Aubrey, a member of SAYT, shares her inspiring story, “Before working behind the scenes in youth theater, I was really shy and did not know how to deal with myself in social situations. I would try to cling to a close group of friends from school wherever I went to feel more comfortable. I would often just stay home and not socialize with anyone, making me feel unaccepted and unwanted.”
“When I did tech crew for my first show, it opened me up to a new world. This new world had kind and accepting individuals, a fun environment, with plenty of time and space for me to learn new skills, enhance my work ethic, and break out of my “shell”. Doing theater completely changed me as a person, and I will always be grateful to it for helping me to be my best self and helping me to find great passion in doing tech crew.”
The people working behind the scenes have the power to make magic onstage and truly set the “mood.” There aren’t many times you hear “wow that lighting was really amazing” or “those props were wonderful,” but without these elements the performance would not be the same.
Above all, theatre is a collaboration of many creative and practical ideas. Each element is important to creating the final product. It teaches us to work together as a team toward something that is bigger than any individual. Next time you are a part of a cast or are an audience member, imagine what it would be like without the sound, lighting and props. Then take a moment to appreciate and compliment those working behind the scenes as well as those on stage.