The unsung heroes of the stage

Tech theatre deserves more recognition


Alyssa Higgins

A member of the Texas High Thespians uses the soundboard to further emphasize the story onstage. The Tiger Theatre Company hosted the play “Metamorphoses” from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21.

Story by Cate Rounds, staff writer

The audience falls silent. Color illuminates the stage to reveal the elaborate set. Actors’ voices fill up the gigantic room. You are transported to a different world. Theatre wouldn’t be possible without the minds behind the tech.

Theatre has been around for ages, but only in recent years has it become the amazing spectacle that it is known for. We have new technology to thank for that. Without these technical aspects, it actors performing on a barren stage. No light to set the mood. No sounds to carry the scene. Not even a set to transport you to that new world.

“Greek theatre started with just two actors outside in the sunlight doing their scenes,” technical director Trent Hanna said. “More and more we wanted to do theatre after dark, in air conditioning. We want lots of spectacles. That’s what these shows have become.”

Although everyone in a show is committed to making it perfect, actors usually get the glory for a performance. Of course the audience has a great appreciation for the technical aspects, but the people behind the curtains rarely are noticed. Because of this, most ‘techies’ actually started out as actors before they found their love of tech.

At first I chose acting, but once they put me in tech, I fell in love with it.

— Nadia Fryer

“At first I chose acting, but once they put me in tech, I fell in love with it,” junior Nadia Fryer said. “I realized it was a whole other world.”

Many jobs fall under the ‘tech’ category This includes lights, sound, makeup, costumes, stage management and set design.

“I like to focus on stage management and lights. I find it fascinating,” Fryer said. “The stage manager is the link between all the actors, tech members and director. [They] keep everyone sane.”

The job search for technical theatre is much more equal opportunity. An actor could be the most talented person in the world, but if they do not fit the specific look of the character, they will not get the part. Tech differs from this. If you are talented at your job in the technical world, you will get the job.

“If you want to be in a show for acting, a lot of times you have to look a certain way,” Hanna said. “Maybe you’re too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny or not the right color. If you’re a good technician, it doesn’t matter if you look ‘right’ or not. If you do the job well, you will get the job.”

Pure talent works where we cannot see them. They deserve as much recognition as the people seen on stage. Tech could be up at the theatre for hours at a time to make the show look good. If the show did not look good, would anyone come to see it?

“I wish people knew how hard we worked,” Fryer said. “When people see a play, they say, ‘Oh wow, cool lights!’ but that light probably took an hour to set up. I wish people knew they stage manager was a real person. It’s not just the director doing everything. A lot of work gets delegated to them.”

Tech works harder than we could ever possibly know. They dedicate so much time to perfecting their craft and to make sure the actors look beautiful. If an actor’s name is up in neon lights, so should tech’s.