Beyond the Stage of “School of Rock”

With the “School of Rock” production coming up this fall, cast members are not the only ones rushing to make it a success. Behind the scenes is another set of students here to build sets, control the sound system, work the lighting, select props, arrange costumes, and oversee it all.

Sophomore Emily Dukes is in her second year leading the sound department. This department is responsible for ensuring that the audience can hear the actors by setting up microphone assignments and cues prior to the show. 

“For ‘School of Rock’ I’m most excited for trying to mike up the instruments and the people at the same time, and trying to find a balance between them,” Dukes shared. 

The sound department serves as just one group of students working beyond the stage. Besides controlling the microphones, the various other departments are getting to work on tasks of their own. 

This semester, senior Suzette Kincer has taken on the role as a production stage manager.

“Stage management contributes to the overall organization of the show,” Kincer explained. “I like to think of us as a bridge between the cast and tech which do not have much interaction with each other. We look at the whole show from the tech and cast perspective.”

Along with the students, theater technical director Kevin DeSouza also contributes to the production. 

“My job here is like a combination of technical director, carpenter, and scenic designer,” DeSouza explained. “My main focus is the set.”

While students run most of the show, DeSouza’s role is vital to the execution of all tasks since he serves as the primary adult in charge of the technical side of shows. DeSouza takes care of the things the students cannot do on their own.

“I’m responsible for [the students], and their training and safety,” DeSouza said. While he is the main adult assisting tech crew, music director Laura Van Duzer and show director Dale Placek also contribute massively to the technical aspects of the show. 

Beyond the stage, students in tech crew work on everything, from sound and lighting to props and painting, to organizing and planning to the last details. While the cast gets most of the on-stage attention, members of the tech crew also dedicate countless hours to the production, and their hard work has always been displayed by the time of the production.

“I love seeing the show being put together finally,” Kincer said.

However, helping to plan is not the only reason students choose to join. Even with so much time dedicated to each position, there is much more to tech crew than just the job description. While cast and crew typically work separately, all the students involved with the production become an integrated community as the show nears. These students on tech crew plan and organize while simultaneously developing life skills and relationships.

“Tech has introduced me to so many of the people who I now call my closest friends,” Dukes shared.