Behind the Stage: The Extreme Excitement of Being a Woman in Black

By Leah Star '15, Stage Manage of Into the Woods

    Being a techie at Dublin is a virtually thankless position. Stress is high and  light is low. We just recently finished our production of “Into the Woods” here at Dublin. I feel that this was the most technically taxing show that we have done in my four years here. Into the Woods brought something new to the Dublin backstage tech crew (a.k.a Juliette Valade and yours truly, armed with my  ginger locks and character-building nose piercing). Into the Woods brought endless costume changes and the necessity to  hand/collect/steal props from actors. There was not a calm moment in Into the Woods, on or off the stage.

    However, in the darkness of backstage, there is something captivating and exciting, something technicolor within the blackness The chairs that do not get used, the headsets you rarely have time to wear, and the fast paced heartbeat of a 30 second costume change, all of that draws me in.

       As Stage Manager, I had to know what was going on in all moments of the show. I had to know when the actors had to change into what costume, and how much time we had to do it. For this specific production, it was also important that I know what trees needed to be moved to what place in what moment. Even in that stress, what makes it special is knowledge. That knowledge is what makes one of the most thankless jobs one of the most rewarding jobs as well. I can't imagine a way that Into the Woods could have run without a tech crew. I know that actors would have been just as amazing, the songs would have been just as captivating, and the feelings would be just as strong, but there would be something missing, like clothes. The flow, the ease, the confidence the actors have in knowing that they don't have to worry about getting their next prop because there is a techie right there to hand it to them, that is what makes the job so amazing.  I am thankful for the amazing backstage crew I was able to work with.

       Into the Woods is most likely the last production I will stage manage for. It was also the best. I have now been a part of 5 serious productions in my life, 4 of them at Dublin, and 3 of them as a techie, and I would never go back on stage. There is a strength that one must have to be a techie, a confidence in oneself  and one’s partners. Before this production I barely knew  co-techie Juliette Valade and now I would trust her with anything (my well-loved dog, maybe even my life). Just as an actor bonds with his or her fellow actors, a techie bonds with the other techies. There is nothing else that I would consider doing in the winter. You see, even in the short days and snow covered paths, even in the dark hole known as backstage, that is where I see the light– and it fills me to the core.