M U H L E N B E R G    M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R    2 0 0 1

"Your show is only as good as your crew."
B Y    T I M O T H Y    A V E R I L L ,
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE & DANCE,
AND RESIDENT SET DESIGNER

I tell this to all the casts and crews of shows I respond to for the American College Theatre Festival to help reinforce the message that great theatre can't happen without all the efforts of the backstage workers.

Here at Muhlenberg, we are blessed with an energetic group of students who embrace the challenges of each show and make our production program the quality showcase that it is.

This fall, we presented Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" where audiences experienced a wonderful production with great performances, fanciful costumes and fun, quick-paced action. The Athenian royals open the show, and moments later, the Fairy king and queen take over the stage. The action happens seamlessly and quickly to push the story along. What the audience didn't see was the flurry of activity backstage, compressed into the small offstage space of our new Studio Theatre: the hectic costume (and wig) changes that have to happen in less than 30 seconds, the running of sound and light cues, and a few special effects thrown in for more fun.

None of this could happen without the dedication, hard work, and sheer long hours in the theatre of our student crew. The cast prepares for weeks; a crew only has a few days to put it all together and make it all seem effortless. For a show's two-week run, the crew works as professionals, coming in to prep and run the show, clean up and get ready for the next day. Unlike a professional, however, they still must attend class and try to lead a student's life. This backstage work takes a different kind of theatre artist. The actor gets immediate response from the audience; the technician is happy in the dark (literally) and is gratified when least seen. But, without his or her concentrated efforts, no show is a success.


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