Lights out

theater tech prepares for upcoming show


Photo by Ariel Van Patten

Focusing on the cut, junior Austin Zessin slices a piece of wood using the miter saw.


The blackout ends and the spotlights fall on the actor standing center stage, but most audience members don’t take note of the students dressed in all black changing sets, hanging lights and placing props.

On Oct. 18, Klein Drama held their first performance of Picnic, a play by William Inge. Set in the 1950s, Picnic is the story of a small neighborhood’s preparations for the upcoming Labor Day  Picnic. For over a month, the drama department has worked during and after school building sets, learning lines and blocking scenes.

Yet, when students went to preview the plays during their English classes, all eyes were on the actors, leaving students to wonder whether the actors were no longer sharing the spotlight with the technical theater students.

“There’s no overshadowing,” said senior Jonathan Martin. “They’re both really important, and one can’t be done without the other. You can have a really amazing set, but without actors there to bring it to life, the show is not going to be any good.”

Unlike actors, tech students don’t go through rounds of auditions and callbacks.

“Instead of auditioning on the stage, we put in an application and go through an interview with the theater teachers,” said junior Chris Potts. “I’m less nervous doing that than going through the auditions the actors have to do.”

Others, however, found the interview process a bit more nerve-racking.

“I was really nervous because you have to go in front of the theater teachers and show them that you are of good moral fiber,” said Martin. “They’re looking for someone with good leadership skills, so they ask a lot of questions about your character.”

Once the interviews were over and the cast lists were up, the tech students got to work.

“We put a lot of work into the show,” said sophomore Trevor Tennant. “And on opening night I look forward to the crowds of people and seeing what they think  of the show. It’s nice to be able to see the show and remember all the progress that we’ve made.”