More Than A Theatre Tech: Rise of the Techies

Tech Sam Wittlinger and actress Megan Williams have some issues.
Photo by Sarah Morales

Everyone recognizes the actor in the spotlight, but what about the person working the lights on stage?

Theatre tech, the hidden side of theatre, is the yin to the yang of the organization.

Tech doesn’t have anything separate from regular theatre but theatre doesn’t do anything without tech either,” Senior Tech Jacob Basse said. “The two go hand in hand. [We] work just as hard as the actors. We have to start building sets and getting lights set up way in advance.  We always have to adjust to actors because our job is to make them look good.”

Actor and techie Christian Parrish (11) joined tech at the start of the school year and loves building the sets as well as acting on them.

“[Tech is] challenging and frustrating at times but the final product always gives you an incredibly joyous feeling,” Parrish said. “It’s busy. It takes a lot of focus as well as being creative. If you’re not focused, people get hurt, if you’re not creative, what you build will be ugly. I act because I like to create. There’s a reason acting is considered an art, and that’s because you create. And I love that. So in a sense I love light design and building the set because I’m still filled with that insatiable desire to create. But, in the long run, my aims are to pursue film acting.”

 

Techie and actor Christian Parrish takes a break and poses on the stage.
Photo by Sarah Morales

The two groups need to work together on all productions, but the two see their own perspective rather than the big picture.

“In a show, there needs to be an understanding between the two and a mutual respect for each other’s jobs,” Parrish said. “[The relationship exists] to some extent, but only because they are told they should. If they understood each other’s job it would help them know.”

Though the tension exists, the groups do work well together.

“Actors are very cocky and often times don’t respect what the techies do during the performances,” Basse said. “But by the end of the day, we all love each other.”

Actors and techies Sam Wittlinger (11) and Christian Parrish (11) work on the set.
Photo by Sarah Morale

And the idea of swapping has passed their minds.

“I wish I would have gotten into acting,” Basse said. “I was definitely scared to act as a freshman or sophomore. I felt like it was too late my junior year so I didn’t do it.”

But this year, everyone feels as if they’re in the right place.

“It is very important that actors know tech stuff so that they respect  the techies and appreciate what they do for them,”  Basse said.  “As for the techies, most of them should never act.”

“Actors are very cocky and often times don’t respect what the techies do during the performances,” Basse said. “But by the end of the day, we all love each other.”

Techies can earn scholarships since many schools brush off student actors while they apply for financial aid.

“Most people involved in theatre want to go to college and be an actor, and when colleges hear that, they will sometimes immediately pass them up,” Basse said. “The schools need tech students too if they want to have good plays.”

 

The two are like bread and butter so when theatre goes to UIL, the techies follow.

“Tech is a huge part of UIL since it’s timed,” Basse said. “Everything has to work out perfectly and that’s the job of the techies.”

The same way an actor feels after a standing ovation is the same feeling techies get after building a set.

“Overall, it’s just cool to see everything you do come together during the play,” Basse said. “When you build a set you never expect it to look good and you are amazed you helped build something like that.”

 

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My name is Sarah and I'm the head editor :-)

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