I would like to dedicate a post to one of the things I actually enjoy doing in this world. There is a fictional story about my experiences on the crew for my high school in the Longer works-short story section of this site, but I feel as if the story was only hinting at the darker portions of the topic. So, without further ado about nothing, here is my article-like post about the infamous Stage Crew.
Summer time is always easier for everyone. There’s no school, people take vacations; everything is just more laid back, more relaxed. For people like me, who don’t have many friends and rarely step out of the house when they don’t need to, it can be awful. It can get boring, doing the same thing everyday. Waking up at noon and wondering why you even got up at all. It all puts this invisible pressure in place that stabs the point even further that there is nothing. You wake up, you do nothing, you sleep. Wishing that maybe summer wasn’t so laid back. Wishing that there was something. Summer isn’t easier for everyone.
I started Stage Crew the second week of Freshman year of high school. It seems like decades away, now. I had this image, this idea of myself on the stage crew, doing behind the scenes work, and going up to the catwalk and throwing confetti at everyone. No one would know it was me. Maybe it was for a reason, maybe I just wanted to make students smile and janitors frown. Maybe it was that every show is the best when there is confetti involved. I dont know. But the idea stayed with me through the entire eighth grade, and even more so that I found the stage- just barely as I had no clue where anything in the school was- and attended my first crew meeting.
Now, I know this probably doesn’t seem important or even a significant event, but it was. There were two other kids there, at first, and the director (who my former friend actually really didn’t like because in 7th grade she dropped a microphone and almost broke it and she got chastised). I was shown the around the stage and the PAC, or Performing Arts Center for all you liberals, which included curtains, tall ropes, an even taller ladder, stairs, sound booth, and sound and light boards, respectively. More people showed up, some of which were in my grade, and we took the grand tour which I’ve taken countless times now. The very last thing we got to see on the tour was the catwalk.
The catwalk is, still, my favorite place in the auditorium. Probably my favorite place in the school besides my hidden spot where I skip class- I mean. What. …Anyway, when we got up to the catwalk, it was amazing. I’m not a heights person, but I can tell you that I was not one of the people freaking out. I enjoyed being up there. Yes, it’s always a bit scary at first, especially when certain people think that jumping on it is a very comical thing to do to freshman, but being so high above all the seats and seeing the stage from such a view trump all fears.
After the first meeting, the actual crew part starts. I have to say I was a bit skeptical at how much effort it was going to take to put on such a highly anticipated show. But you learn, as you would learn anything else. The difference with this than learning social studies or english, is that with the crew, came the social tolerances and expectations. As a person with limited friends, it took time to be accustomed to things. I was just a freshman at the time, and this was fall, before winter came around and things got bad. I still didn’t feel like I belonged in the crew.
The set of people that our crew contained was actually pretty interesting. I’ll start with the director. He really enjoys what he does, I have to say that. There’s an odd, and at times annoying, passion for what we all do. The play is strangely important to him which I can only assume reflects back on some kind of childhood turmoil- I’m only kidding, Pat. The other kids, they all have their own story. There was the girl who was all into technology with a sister who was into sports. There were these twins, one of whom pushed me into a door whilst calling me a “Stupid freshman”. The other ended up ‘dating’ another crew member in some kind of strained relationship that threatened to succumb to the inevitable after only days. Dont worry about him, now is dating some other crew member, this one more girly. There are brothers, who act a lot like each other in some respects and very different in others, as you could imagine. There are classic ‘band geeks’ that actually have a pretty large social life. There was the goth chick who sassed our math teacher, and her boy friend with the most annoying speech impediment. There was her other boyfriend with obvious family issues and unstable emotions. And there were others that came and went.
Most of the people were pretty tightly knit with each other, always carrying side conversations. But as much as we are diverse, there really isn’t a whole lot of things different between us. Perhaps that’s why I never left the stage crew. For some reason, the people who stay, the people who are actually involved, belong. Not to mention the things they all talk about can be pretty hilarious, and, at other times, so explicit it’s funny.
We all joined for a reason. Maybe we were dragged into it. Maybe we just wanted to throw confetti, maybe we want to go into theatre, maybe it is just another thing to to. It is a good outlet, I have to say. If you can’t get all your emotions out at the shooting range, why not carry heavy objects and use power drills and make something that in the long run, you can be proud of. Not that I’m not proud of my bullet hole filled targets.
I did stage crew only a little bit last summer, and after a rough fall, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go back full time this summer. But I did, and it was a good choice on my part. I say things like this lightly around them, it’s mainly a group of guys and one other girl so I can’t get too sappy, but we really do all connect. I’m not sure how other schools have it, but the thing we have going really works.
It may just be a club, another thing to do, but I think that it has changed me. I learned things that came in handy when I had to paint my room, and later the entire downstairs of our house. It is a thing that makes you feel useful. My father got to see the show we all put on last fall, and it felt nice to prove that going every day, sometimes until 11pm, was worth it. The outcome seems to always be worth the long hours and tedious tasks.
It is nice to have a hobby, a thing that you can call yours, especially when friends are busy with their own things. Stage crew made me realize how much time it takes to build things up. You can’t put up four walls and call it a house and move on. You have to measure, you have to adjust, you have to paint more than one coat. Four walls doesn’t make a house. Living in a rut everyday, doesn’t make a life.
Summer is a time to be laid back. Stage crew is more laid back in the summer, but it is the farthest thing from a rut. There are new challenges everyday. There are new things I get to hear everyone talk about. There is always something to do, and even when there isn’t, there’s always some movie (that I really don’t want to see) that we can watch. The energy thats there, even when we are all running on empty, is incredible. If it wasn’t for that first meeting, that first glimpse of a new reality, I don’t know what I would be today. Probably bored out of my mind.
Can I throw the confetti now?
(I stole this picture from the Stage Crew facebook page, in case of any copyright nazis out there)
AKA the girl with her hand in the jug of screws.