By: Emma Wilson
Weightlifting; push-ups; jumping jacks; that is nothing compared to the workout you get from tech crew.
Tech Crew, the after school society of kids who run the shows, but avoid the limelight. However, tech theatre also includes a lot of physical and mental activity that many are unaware of.
Props to Props?
You know how the average gym junkie lifts weights twice their size? The average props crew also lifts sofas twice their size. And benches. They literally bench benches. As well as chairs, wardrobes, and dressers.
“Like one day you could be fine, but the next day your body is FAILING on you,” assistant manager Harrison Hewitt said.
Swimmers Can’t Even Match these Painters
Welcome to paint crew. You’re bound to get high here: with all the fumes you’re breathing in on a daily basis, you’ll probably suffer from brain damage down the road. Let’s not forget about the agonizing arm workout that they endure. I mean swim strokes? More like paint strokes.
Building Muscles AND Sets
Everybody builds muscle; however, carpentry crew builds sets. Carpentry crew spends grueling hours constructing the set. They spend every day after school till 5:30 pm and some Saturdays practically slaving away.[Not only do they make the sets with various power tools, have to move the sets back and forth, but they are also the biggest part in crew.] They are essentially the base to our cheer pyramid. If they cannot fulfill, the whole production is set back.
The Fitnessgram Pacer Test
And then there’s run crew, which puts cross country and track to shame. Running back and forth, scene after scene, moving props, sets, actors, the whole shabam, all in five seconds. Now, that’s a pacer test.
Run crew is the most vital during a show, as they physically run the show.
“It is also is physically demanding. Your job is to move the set, if the set is heavy you have to be strong,” said Hewitt.
Strike: Feel the Burn
“If you wanna talk PE credits, that’s where it all is,” Hewitt said. “Because we have to destroy the entire set and keep all the scraps and put away all the props and lights and put everything back within 3 hours,
Strike is the major part in gaining P.E credit, due to the enormous responsibility that pit clean up comes with. The pit is where the orchestra plays during the show, something so minor that you would never think takes so many of your precious minutes with the only three hours allotted.
Trust that strike is more than just your daily session at the gym.
If you think benching benches is difficult then, you haven’t even met pit squatting.
“All of us who are 6 foot tall have to duck walk into there to get down. It’s literally pit squatting,” said Hewitt.
Most athletes can say, “Yeah, I press 140 pounds a day” but if you meet the average theatre kid they’ll come back with, “Ha! Ever tried pit squatting? Bet.”
“And you have to work together and make sure you’re listening very carefully, or you can literally die,” said props master, Mackenzie Johnson.
It’s great to know something you love can actually kill you if you’re not careful enough. Well, that’s crew for you.
Rest assured though, all the masters of the crews are very safe and cautious in everything they do.
Get your Head in the Game
You signed up to take this stress on; however, it isn’t as bad as it may seem. There is stress, but there is good and bad stress.
“In all honesty, I didn’t sign up for run crew,” Johnson said. “It was stress that I didn’t ask for, and it was very nerve wracking because you want the performance to go on without a hitch.”
Nobody wants extra stress, but sometimes a little stress is good. Crew has to take the daunting stress of show deadlines.
“Yes! Anxiety… we love her!” Hewitt said.
Just as athletes carry stress when competing against the opposing team, the tech kids carry stress when creating a production for a prolonged period of time.
This work isn’t for the weak minded people. You build stamina because of theatre, and you also build rippling muscles… just sayin’.
“There’s a lot of breakdowns, coming from personal experience,” said Johnson. “It's a lot of added stress because we love it so much.”
In sports, you’re required to work with people to perform a simple task, just the same as what techies must do in theatre. So if sports are counted as a P.E. credit then why isn’t tech? Both teach you life skills right? Is it because they don’t lift weights or exhaust themselves till days on end like all the sweaty neanderthals out there? Is it because they aren’t awarded a shiny medal for all their hard work for the school to show off?
We’re All In This Together
They become a family throughout the whole process. They all love and appreciate each other. Even the socially awkward introverts are forced to interact with people. Oh yes! Some big steps are taken in theatre.
Honestly, you slowly get close to people you didn’t think you’d get along with. It’s like an unspoken communication that you love and appreciate the others as much as your own crew, especially during show time.
If anything, my time in props and tech crew all together has taught me team-building skills, problem solving, and even compromise with others. We’re all a big family, full of anxiety and stress, but a family nonetheless.
Strength, physically and mentally, and teamwork is what it takes for a sport. The same goes for tech crew, so why not consider it a gym credit?