Behind the Curtains

When you think of theatre you most likely picture people acting, dancing, and singing. What you don’t think of is the carpentry, audio, lighting, and props which are all required for theatre to have a successful play. Without tech theatre, you wouldn’t see or hear the actors, and they would not look like the characters you remember from the original work. As Assistant Stage Manager Katelyn Allison puts it, “Technical theatre handles all technical aspects of the show, so that means pretty much anything that isn’t on stage acting.”

Prepping for a show isn’t easy. According to Mr. Morphew, Director of Theatre at Apopka High, “Preparing for a show, technically, takes a lot of planning, gathering, logistics, coordinating, and then actually getting to the point of physical production.” Students in tech theatre work with “lumber, tools, computers, sound systems, lighting equipment and programming, costuming, hair and makeup.” This means there is a very large and diverse skillset required, since there are so many different skills, and one person can’t do them all. It takes around 6 weeks from start to finish to produce a play.
The most critical skill to be in Tech Theatre: “safety.” Katelyn notes that “some aspects can be dangerous,” and that “Being responsible and knowing your limits is the best way to stay safe.” Additional useful skills include critical thinking, being good at math, good working in collaborative environments, and an ability to take artistic risks. Students in Tech Theatre should also be passionate about what they are doing.
The play currently in the works for Theatre is Arsenic and Old Lace. IMDb gives the classic play turned movie a short description: “A writer of books on the futility of marriage risks his reputation when he decides to get married. Things get even more complicated when he learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are habitual murderers.” After the Arsenic and Old Lace is finished, they will start their Fall Community Project, creating a “one-act play focusing on the challenges of bi-lingual students in America,” as stated by Mr. Morphew, in collaboration with the Orlando Repertory Theatre.
In spring, Theatre will hold Hoka Ha, an improv comedy show. The spring mainstage production will be She Kills Monsters, as Mr. Morphew describes: “a very popular contemporary story based following a young girl who has lost her family after an accident, and we follow her journey of connecting with her younger sister through a tale of fantasy.”
Apopka’s Tech Theatre allows Apopka High Drama to have successful plays year after year. Though they may go unnoticed, there would be no play without them. So next time around when you are enjoying watching fellow students act on stage, also think about the work it took to be able to see them, hear them, and have them appear just like they did in the original production.