I have been doing theatre since about the 6th grade, which is when I realized the only time I ever like dance is when we were performing and that I should probably just be performing instead. I have been in several plays every year since then and I never passed up an opportunity to be a part of a show. This year, however, I decided to participate in a part of theatre I had never done before, which was stage crew. I have gone to plenty of auditions, performed in front of tons of strangers, sang at talent shows, and danced in various productions of The Nutcracker roughly 5 times, so being nervous is nothing new for me, but I have never been more terrified and simultaneously excited as I was on the first day of Stage Crew.
I had some friends there that helped out at first, but we were all assigned different tasks so we didn’t really get to talk to each other much. It’s not meeting new people that really scared me, it was the very realistic fear that I would do something stupid. No matter where you go, there is always a slight chance that you will inevitably do something mortifyingly embarrassing, which doesn’t really bother me that much. The problem was that there were a lot more ways for me to mess up, and really badly too. There were power tools and burning hot lights and various other ways for me to inadvertently destroy the universe.
Most of the nerves went away by the second day of crew, which almost half the people that were there the first time didn’t show up to. I ended up being the only freshman on stage crew for Peter Pan, my friends were all too nervous to come back to crew. At first I was sad, but looking back I am happy that they didn’t stick with Stage Crew because I loved the experience I had and it would not have been possible if they were there.
Despite how nervous I was on the first day, I loved stage crew and am looking forward to doing it next year and the years to follow. Being backstage gave me a whole different perspective on what really goes into a show. As actors, my friends and I never put much thought into how our props just magically showed up, or how during rehearsal, the set would be bigger than it was yesterday. We never saw these things happen and it was very interesting to be on the side of theatre that makes those things happen.
For me crew was more than countless splinters, paint in my hair and on my arms that won’t wash out, and sweeping….a lot. Crew was screaming the words of Panic! At The Disco songs, head-banging to the music backstage, making a bad Star Wars joke on clear com that no one thought was funny, and eating more Lifesaver mints than you can count. It’s watching hours of work come to life on stage and watching hours of dumb videos backstage.
Being a part of Stage Crew is probably the most adventurous thing I have done all year, and I loved every moment of it. It reminded me that theatre is an art form that is truly unique and beautiful, no matter how you are involved in it, and it showed me that I don’t have to be on stage to love being a part of the shows here at Homestead.
Written By: Betsy Baker