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Behind the Scenes: My Love for Technical Theater

By Maya ‘22

It was the first day of school in my sophomore year. I was exhausted after a long day of trudging up and down what felt like thousands of stairs, and still in denial that summer break was over. I glanced down at my iHW scheduling app: starting in 4 minutes, Technical Theater Rugby 220. I took a deep breath and headed towards the auditorium. 

I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect and hadn’t even known that the Technical Theater class existed until my mom pointed it out in the course catalog. But it took me a few short days to realize that I truly loved working in the theater. It seemed like every day had something new. We learned how to use power equipment to build sets, how to hang speakers, and how to design successful lighting concepts. 

A couple of weeks later, we put our newfound skills to the test as we started to prepare for the Winter Play, Into the Woods. We spent hours designing, building, and painting. Going from an idea to a sketch to a physical product takes patience and months of work. I enjoyed every minute wrapping giant PVC pipes with brown construction paper to create a forest, testing different gobos (stenciled discs for lighting fixtures to project images), and hanging new curtains. 

I especially love the theater’s collaborative community. During Tech Week, everybody stays late, running through the cues again and again until we make sure that the timing for light and sound effects are perfect. Being a part of a team adds an especially rewarding aspect to the work. As our production crew has become more familiar with each other, we have learned how to listen to each other’s ideas, work together to combine them into creative solutions, and push our production to be the best.

The Technical Theater program at Harvard-Westlake is truly special, as it allows you to learn in a hands-on way and leave an impact on every production. I have learned that there is a place for all students in the theater. Some prefer to be in the spotlight, performing on stage, while others like me love being behind the scenes. Even though I have spent hundreds of hours in the theater since sophomore year, it seems like each day is different and exciting. There is always something new for me to learn whenever I walk through the doors of the auditorium. It is incredibly satisfying to watch a final production and appreciate all the details that went into making it. 

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Tags: , , Last modified: January 18, 2022