Tech Crew: Setting the Scene


The set of Our Town

As November 16th approaches and actors are busy memorizing lines, the Tech Crew is busy at work prepping the stage for the opening night of the school’s rendition of Our Town. The director, Mr. Ahn-Cooper, hopes to portray this classic with a modern twist. And the Tech Crew seems to think it’s working.

Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder, is a fictional three-act play about the town of Grover’s Corner, and follows the main character, a stage manager, who directly addresses and questions the audience throughout. “It’s about mortality and about how fleeting life is,” said Tifarah Melman (‘18), the Tech Crew’s Head Scenic Artist, who plans to pursue set design as a career.

Some of the cast and crew

One special thing about this play is that the set holds a lot of symbolism that the audience might or might not pick up on. “We’re making two platforms to symbolize and represent two houses in the town, because it’s really about community and relationships,” said Melman. “On the back wall, I’m painting an ombre kind of gradient of dark green going into blues to represent the earth and the sky on a cloudy day, a thoughtful day, and then there are going to be two trees framing it,” she added.

Apparently, and shockingly, they even painted the stage floor. “One thing that everyone’s amazed by is that we painted the black stage floor and made it look like wood, so it looks like a hardwood floor,” said Emily Kahn (‘18), who is currently in charge of lighting. “People have come in and been like ‘Wow, when did you get new flooring?’ But no, we just painted it!”

Emily Kahn (’18) working lights

Clearly the Tech Crew has been busy, yet it’s a somewhat common, and friendly, argument among Tenaflicians regarding who does more work: the Tech Crew or the actors. For this show, among many others, the Tech Crew seems to be working hard around the clock. “We go in two or three times a week for three hours at a time,—from six to nine, usually, sometimes a little later—and that whole time we’re just doing carpentry, we’re painting, we even do lighting and preparation,” explained Melman. “During ‘tech week,’ we’re in school for forever. We’re there till eleven o’clock at night sometimes.” Nonetheless, Melman admitted that the Tech Crew and the actors work well together in a close and productive environment. “We respect each other’s work, and work around each other to get things done,” said Kahn.

Yet, despite the Tech Crew’s hard work, some members feel underappreciated. “People don’t see Tech Crew, and that’s the point. You’re not supposed to see us because we’re the people who just magically do everything. And so we don’t get as much recognition,” said Melman. “It’s just the way it works.” Even so, Melman said that the show was coming along wonderfully, and she spoke of the underclassmen, saying that she knows that they have some real talent and will get better in the future.

Tech Crew

One thing that many on Tech Crew seem to agree with is that the job certainly is rewarding, in that it provides a great and gratifying environment to de-stress. “It’s really fun—it’s a really good catharsis just being able to saw something, paint something. You get all your energy out in a really good way,” said Melman. She went on to explain that when on Tech Crew and building stage sets, she is able to create things of beauty that oftentimes help people and are, for a moment in time, lasting. “You can be productive and have something really cool come out of it,” she said. Also, Kahn explained that working on Tech Crew has taught her many practical skills that she has been able to use at home.

Overall, the show sounds like it’s going to be a great success. “We’ve spent countless hours working on the set. It looks beautiful, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it,” said Kahn. “I’m so excited. I think it’s gonna be a really good show and everyone should come see it.”