The Ups and Downs of a First-Time Stage Crew Member

Ashley Weiss at the Back Stage Door

Rose Rizzi

Ashley Weiss at the Back Stage Door

 Ashley Weiss is a sophomore at Menchville High School and she has written about her experience on the Stage Crew for the upcoming production of Mary Poppins.  The play will be performed April 21, 22 and 23 at 7 PM  in the Menchville auditorium.

I am on the Menchville stage crew for our play Mary Poppins. The first day I started I was a little shy because I didn’t really know anybody in the stage crew other than my best friend. But now after working with all the great people on the crew, I feel like I am part of the family.

The first order of business was to make sure everybody knew how to use the tools that we  use to build some of the set. Not everybody knew how to use the power drill but there is a great guy named Maxwell that likes to build things so he showed us what to do and how to use some of the other equipment. The first day over all went really well.

The next day when I got to the stage crew room, most of the crew was gone! It turns out that they had quit because they had a lot of other things going on. Which I and everybody else completely understood, but instead of telling Mr. Pica or our stage manager, Corbin, they just left and didn’t tell anybody that they weren’t coming back. We came to terms with the fact that the people who were there that day were the ones committed to making the play successful.

The third day, we had to start putting wheels on some platforms so that the actors could have something to practice on. It was a little difficult to find all of the right screws and good sized wheels for the platforms. It was a bit of a struggle because there was only one power drill and we all had to share it. It was also hectic because we didn’t have a lot of work space so we were all cramped together and it was very hot

After we had finished one platform, some of the crew used it and some brooms to mess around and make a star wars remake. It was funny at the time but we didn’t get as much work done as we should have.

On the fourth day we got started making a model of the stage so that we can know where we would put the props and the actors without just “winging it.” I thought that this was a very good idea because everything needs a plan before you start it. That day was a lot more productive then the day before because we got the stage model done and it actually looked really good. Since we finished, we got to go watch the actors, singers, and dancers practice and I realized that this play was going to be a lot more work than I thought it would be.

Finally, we began to make the sign for the play to put in front of the school. This was a lot of work because we had to cut out the wood to make the right size sign. That took about an hour, after that was done we had to get painting which was my favorite part but also the most important. Nobody would want to look at a sign that isn’t pretty or neat. We had to be very careful with the words we were putting on it so that it didn’t look bad. We had the most artistic person do the letters because she had to most steady hand and it turned out gorgeous! This is my experience so far with stage crew and I love it!

Stage Crew is a voluntary after-school program where students work on a backstage crew for the Menchville theatre productions.  The crews include lighting, sound, scenery, properties, publicity, stage management, house management, theater business management, costumes and makeup. You don’t get paid or receive any other credit other than to be on the play catalog. Most people don’t recognize that if you don’t have a stage crew then the play literally will not go on.