Leaders behind curtains

Technical theater brings shows to life, says Sara Cohen, 12

Yasmine Guedira

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SOUND IT OUT. Stage manager Sara Cohen, 12, directs all actions backstage by coordinating set changes on the ground, and through the fly system. “Although some people may think actors just act on stage, they also help out behind the scenes during tech. During set construction, we all work together to create the setting of the show,” said Julie Whapham, 12.

What got you interested in tech theater?
I decided to sign up for the tech theater class in freshman year, and I took the class. It was mind blowing; you don’t realize all the stuff that goes on backstage. So I got really interested in doing that and helping out with the shows.

How did you learn to use all the equipment?
You kind of just pick it up as you go along; you watch people older than you do it, then you learn how to do it, and then you teach people younger than you to do it. Mr. [John] Whapham helps a bunch.

What is your favorite project you have worked on so far?
My favorite show – it’s really hard to choose – I think is “Bring It On.” It was a really good show, and it was really fun to do.

Do you apply your skills to other productions or to other fields in general?
The skills we learn are really helpful. You learn so much about how to build stuff and how to fix things and just life lessons from doing stuff backstage. Working with other people is a big part of it.

What is your role in the productions?
I keep track of what has to move when and who is moving it, and I have to make sure that people are ready to move their things and that everything gets on stage on time. Keeping everyone quiet backstage is a big part of it.

How much time have you committed to this project?
I would say on average it’s about five hours a week, but obviously it’s a lot more some weeks than on other weeks.

What is you favorite part of the whole process?
I think my favorite part is our first run-through. It is just cool to see everything come together because we have worked so hard to build everything and memorize lines and get everything organized.

How can students get involved in theatre?
Anyone can get involved; if you want to join set building, all you have to do is show up.