Backstage/Run Crew Spotlight
Do you know the different run crew/backstage jobs necessary to make the onstage magic happen? Or the awesome folks that fill those roles at theREP? Here is the crew making the Midsummer magic happen:
Not pictured above: Kristine Schlachter* (stage manager), Emily English (wardrobe), Stephen Pelletier (light board operator) and Luke Kraus (audio engineer/sound board operator).
*Denotes a Member of Actors’ Equity Association
Wardrobe: The wardrobe department, led by the wardrobe supervisor, work backstage during a production to make sure the actors always enter in the correct costume. They also prep and ensure that all costume elements are preset backstage where they are needed before the show starts, mend garments (if needed) on the fly and help the actors with quick changes that often happen. Wardrobe is also responsible for doing the laundry after each performance. The wardrobe supervisor is also always on the headset so that they can communicate at all times with the stage manager who is running the show.
Stage Manager: If you’re not in the know, then you might not know that every single show needs a stage manager. In fact, without the stage manager’s – literal – “Go” to the light board op, sound board op and crew making scenery shifts happen, those things wouldn’t happen. Stage managers collect all of the necessary cues in their prompt books during rehearsals and tech and then quite literally call the show. They are in charge of making sure the magic repeats itself every single performance, and in the way that the director and designers have specified! (SMs do so much more than this, but we’ll leave it at that for the moment.)
1st, 2nd and 3rd ASM: At theREP, all of the ASMs on a given production are backstage. They are in charge of – and help with – scenery shifts, prop handoffs and so much more. Sometimes they even have to work in the world of costumes and help with a quick change. Often, they literally enter the stage during a scene change and help with the scenery (sometimes donned in a costume to keep the world of the play intact). ASMs are always on the headset so that they can communicate – at any time – with the stage manager in the booth running the show.
Run Crew: At theREP, if someone’s role is “run crew,” this means that they are working in tandem with the ASMs to ensure all scene, prop and costume needs are met/executed during the production. At times they too will go on stage to help with an on-stage scenic change.
Light Board Operator: The light board op is the individual in charge of the pre-show light check (making sure all the instruments are operating properly before the show begins) and the individual who – while on the headset with the stage manager – will literally press the “go” button on the light board to ensure the lights shift when they are supposed to. The board op must always wait for the SM to tell them to “go” before executing the next cue.
Audio Engineer/Sound Board Operator: The audio engineer/sound board op is the individual in charge of ensuring all sound cues and microphones being used in a show are working pre-show and the individual who – while on the headset with the stage manager – will literally press the “go” button on the soundboard to ensure the sound cues are executed when they are supposed to. As the audio engineer, it is also this person’s job to ensure that the “live mixing of the microphones” happens as it should.