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Technically, it’s theater

October 1, 2010

By Annie Hunter, News Editor

Riley Noble, a freshman theater major, learns the technical aspect of theater so he can become a well-rounded student within his degree. Photo by Jacob Stone

There is a joke in theatre: how many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb?  The answer is none, they get a techie, which is someone from the technical theatre crew to do it.

The technical side of theatre is often overlooked by outsiders, but anyone who has been involved in the dramatic arts knows the value of the backstage.

Their job is to be accessible to the actors and invisible to the audience. They don’t get their names in lights or listed top billing, but they make everything run smoother.

Students not casted in a show work on the production building of the set, controlling lights, running sound, doing props, costuming and being the go-to-guys for the director and actors.

Sara Gillispie, a freshman theatre major from Marietta, is one of the assistant stage managers for Young Harris College’s upcoming musical: “Cabaret.” For Gillispie, technical theatre is a happy medium that allows her to get involved in the performance without being center stage.

“I kind of like controlling the limelight than be in it,” Gillispie said.

According to her, techies are a major part of the production. “It flows easier if someone is controlling everything in the back while [the actors] are doing their thing in the front.”

Ashley Johnson, a freshman musical theatre major from Canton, is the other assistant stage manager. As an actress, she said it’s crucial that she experiences all areas of the theatre, not only because it expands her knowledge, but also teaches her respect.

“Here, they make everybody work every job,” Johnson said. “You’re going to be nicer to the people backstage and not look down on them because you went through [that job] and know how hard it is.”

Each of those roles, Johnson said, is essential to the well-being of the performance, from the lead actor to the prop master.

“When you look at movies or you look in a program and see all those names,” Johnson says, “People who are in the audience don’t really think about it, but if you took one person out of the equation things could get really crazy. Nobody is insignificant.”

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