Recently, I was going through some old boards on my Pinterest and came across one that I had almost completely forgot about. The name I gave this board was "Dammit man, I'm a Techie, not a physicist!" Why I chose a quote from the new "Star Trek" movie, I have no idea, especially considering this board is all about theater. My life as a theater "techie" may be over, but the memories will live on forever. This board has many memories and inside jokes from the "Backstage Badger" and the "Thespian Peacock" that I would like to share with you, and if you're at all a thespian, you'll understand.
For starters, I should probably inform you of what I did in the theater. I was what my high school called a "techie," or stage technician. We were in charge of lighting, sound and setting the stage. During shows, the techies that were involved in actually moving the set pieces were known as the running crew or stage crew.
We often make fun of actors, saying that our skills are much more marketable than theirs, or how the show would flow so much better without them. The daily wardrobe of a techie for four or five weekends out of a year was rather... Goth, for lack of a better term.
For the most part, this is pretty accurate. But I almost never wore black socks, we had crew pullover hoodies with our names on them and I usually wore boots instead of tennis shoes.
This "Backstage Badger" post couldn't be more spot-on. As part of the crew that was responsible for moving our equipment and props from our old auditorium to our new performing arts center, I can say, with a decent amount of certainty, that I have never seen about 60 percent of the props in a single show we did. Believe me, a lot of it should probably get thrown away, but don't tell the directors unless you want your head bitten off.
The following "Thespian Peacock" post is not only for those actors that have small roles, it also applies to techies and costumers as well.
Musicals at my high school were always the largest cast, with many "extras" who got cast as "Chorus" or "Ensemble." These people often had the most costume changes. due to the fact they were playing multiple roles during one show. Whenever they weren't in the dressing rooms, they were backstage listening to the same songs and doing the same dorky made-up choreography, night after night. It was almost like an unspoken contest to see who came up with the best interpretive dance for each song.
This last one is related to multiple different clubs or groups, I'm sure, but it really hits home for me, because I don't think it could be any more true.
This is, to me, one of the most memorable parts of theater. Putting on four shows each school year is quite time-consuming. You start the first one and think you have all the time in the world. Then suddenly it's tech week, and you still have drops to hang, lights to center and actors to deal with, while still doing everything else.
Side note: A techie is usually one of the most underappreciated roles in a theater. The actors push you around like you're not as important until they see you did something wrong. Then it becomes a more stressful situation when you have to tell them that they are, in fact, the ones that did something wrong and they refuse to listen to you. After you get it sorted out and rehearsals finally move on, 20 minutes later, you're laughing with that same person about some other screw up.
The directors and student directors will be down your throat if you're half a second late for rehearsal. Costumers will be frantically trying to find missing costume pieces. Techies will be making last-minute set changes at the will of the directors. Actors will be pacing around, trying to memorize their lines, all less than 24 hours before opening night. Show weeks are truly one of the most stressful times, but once the curtain closes for the last time and everyone is crying, you realize that it was also one of the most rewarding experiences.
These are the memories that stay with you. They say that TV and movies will stay with you forever. because you can always find a copy somewhere. Theater, however, isn't like that. Theater only lives on in the minds of those involved through the memories they made.
I will be forever grateful for my experience in the theater. For my techie family that may be reading this, thank you. I appreciate all the help, long nights and hard work, and I wouldn't trade any of that for anything. I miss it terribly, and if I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you, performers, techies and costumers for all the memories. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. Break a leg in all your future endeavors!