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Superintendent Listening Post

Mayo Stage Door’s crews key to spring play success


Mayo State Door Productions’ offering, I Hate Shakespeare, premiers on Friday, April 26th, and it promises to be filled with laughter and entertainment. While the audience focuses on the cast members, since they’re right on the stage, some of the most important members of the production are behind the scenes, making things happen, like the people who run lighting or sound. In fact, there are eight different crews that work together to make the show: Stage Management, Lighting Designers, Set Construction, Prop masters, Sound designers, Costumes, Hair and Makeup, and House crew.

Stage Managers are the key to success of each performance; they are the definition of essential in any show. At Mayo High School, we are fortunate to have two Stage Managers, twins Julia and Sophia Sanchez. These talented sisters have been managing for the past three years, and their dedication and hard work have been invaluable to the school’s theater program. Since the beginning, Julia and Sophia have been tirelessly at work, ensuring that every aspect of the show runs smoothly. The first to arrive and the last to leave, working six days a week until the production’s over, they have many jobs, including calling cues for both the cast and crew, managing the production schedule, overseeing every detail, and even helping with crew work whenever needed. Just a few days before the debut of I Hate Shakespeare, Sophia Sanchez noted “that the show overall is going quite well.” Although the managers are exhausted, they know that at the end of the production, it will all have been worth it.

The success of any live performance greatly depends on the lighting design, and senior Owen Sutton has been a part of the productions for two years, a true leader of the Lighting Crew. As the lead lighting designer, he plans and executes the lighting setup for the entire show, strategically placing a diverse range of lights to fulfill various purposes. Sutton and his team have put a lot of “effort into this show, especially in these last couple of weeks.” The technical wizardry behind their lighting designs, colors, and lighting positions have the power to make any show more dramatic, more emotional. 

Members of the Set Construction crew, (l-r) Soul V. Nikishov-Pelaez, Wa-Se-a-Ka Davenport, Mr. Smith, Amira Mohamed, and Alaina Low build the perfect cauldron for a skit about Macbeth. Photo courtesy of Mich Hemphill

Another extremely valuable crew is Set Construction. Senior Mich Hemphill, the Deck Captain of this show, is in charge of the construction of every piece of every scene in the play. The crew builds pieces for each scene’s set, including walls, doors, platforms, and other vital structures. Hemphill makes sure that everything is built and in place on time. During the performance, she makes sure that the stage crew on the left side gets their pieces out on the stage in time for each scene. Although a part of the Mayo Stage Door for all four years of high school, this is her first time being a crew leader. So far she loves being a leader and believes that “it is fun to have responsibilities within the show… making sure that everything is going according to plan.” Just a day before the opening night, and the set is still being tweaked; these finishing touches to the set are what bring everything together. Despite the challenges of their job, the Set Construction Crew is confident that they will be able to pull it off flawlessly before the opening show.

Junior Brooklyn Pagel serves as the Props Master for the show. Her primary responsibility is to ensure that every prop is in line with the script and is placed on stage at the right time and in the correct place. As part of the Mayo Stage Door Productions for all three years of her high school journey, she is excited about the prospect of continuing through her senior year, since everything so far has been a “delightful experience.” She and her crew members have had a great deal of fun creating the props for this show, as they were all “modern with some Shakespearean elements.”

Bella Casper, Luca Presa, and their Sound Crew are responsible for every microphone the cast wears and every sound that comes out of the speakers. Casper, a junior, is the head sound lead, and her job entails programming ambient sounds into the database by physically “recording new sounds using the surroundings.” For example, they recorded the sound of a door being slammed for a scene in their previous show. She has been a part of the theater for three years, but this is her first time being a leader in a show. She loves her role as a leader because it gives her the opportunity to train the new sound crew members. Presa, a senior and the second sound lead, has been part of the productions for two years, and like Casper, this show is his first time being a leader. His new role as crew lead has not been easy: “the learning curve of being a crew member to becoming a lead has been a hard transition, but it’s been really fun.” In previous shows, Presa was part of the cast all while being a part of the crew. Being part of both cast and crew is not easy, but it’s possible; it takes hard work and dedication to the theater, but Presa pulled it off not once but in many previous shows.

Mob Wendt is in charge of the Costumes. Wendt and her crew are responsible for designing, producing, and ordering costumes for each cast member in the show. She must study the script carefully to ensure that each cast member’s outfit is designed exactly as it should be. Being part of Mayo Stage Door Productions for three years, this is Wendt’s first time being a lead. Her job is extremely hard to do, and she admits that she was worried that she was not “prepared for it, but it will be something that will be very rewarding once it is all over.”

Bela Verma is responsible for the Hair and Makeup of each cast member in the play. Her job is to lead the crew that creates unique designs for each member’s hair and makeup. She has been a part of Mayo Stage Door Productions for two years and has been the crew leader for a year. Having one of the most stressful jobs, Verma and her crew need to be ready to touch up the cast’s makeup at all times. Although it is her first time as a lead, she loves her responsibilities because she has the “creative freedom to design the hair and makeup” in her own, unique way.

The House Crew is one of the most vital crews of the show. Their primary responsibility is to fill the seats of the auditorium with people by promoting the show. Ava Spohn has been a member of the house crew for two years and has been the House Manager for a year. She must lead her crew in designing the tickets, t-shirts, flyers, and programs for each show. The most challenging and stressful part of her job is “during opening night,” when they have to arrive early, train the ushers, and set up the foyer with all the tables and decorations.

Each and every one of these crews work tirelessly in their unique way, bringing a diverse set of skills and expertise to the table to put on a spectacular show. The individuals who make up these eight crews are the backbone of the performance, without them, nothing would be possible. 


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