Categorized | Arts and Entertainment

Behind the scenes of ‘Agatha Rex’

By Elise Guillen

“Agatha Rex” is a special play that can have an impact on students and motivate them to speak up when they may feel like their voice does not matter.

See the May-June 2017 Steinmetz Star for a complete review on Page 21.

“Agatha Rex” has factors that contribute to make it a great play but what makes the production special to me was knowing all the hard work put into it. I am very close with some of the people involved, like Steinmetz’s very first student director for a school play, Agape Alfaro.

I have known the struggle behind it all: from the worrying who would be the sponsor of it, what play they were going to do, who was going to audition and then all of the stress from it. I remember finding out Agape would be the director and just thinking, “Wow, it has come to this,” because no one was able to do it, yet Agape was doing everything in her power for Steinmetz to have a school play.

Agape, egan Sammie

Teacher Jennifer Egan, Sammie Chaifi and Agape Alfaro in “Agatha Rex.” Photo by Steven Nunez.

Agape’s passion for theatre and having a school play is one of the reasons why having a drama club is so crucial. Fair warning. I will continue to mention Agape to show amazing she is.  I was asked by Agape the day before the play to be stage crew, something I’ve always wanted to do but never had enough time for. At first I was hesitant, but Agape told me I would be missing class in order to help out. Of course, that made it entirely more appealing especially since I had a history test. Yet, I also wanted to be responsible. So, with permission to take the test after Memorial Day weekend, I was officially a part of stage crew.

I was a little nervous but Agape told me I could learn the ropes in one day. But, when I arrived to perform my duty as stage crew, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to have to do much anyway. Lights and curtains were covered. I became the person to run errands but with the special title of “Stage Crew.” I gladly performed any task that was asked with me but not before proclaiming my title as “Stage Crew” as I went off to do my very important job and do it well. I really enjoyed being referred to as “Stage Crew” whenever I was needed and will always smile when I think of all of the little things I did, but how I was also able to be helpful in a very small way. I always acknowledge stage crew internally but now I have a deep appreciation for it after joining it for a day. The show of course can’t go on without the cast but also without the help of stage crew. Imagine how I would feel about being stage crew if I did it more than a day.

Another part of being stage crew is just sitting around and watching the cast and crew practice until you are needed but even the sitting around is fun. It’s real special to witness the preparation of everything and then actually seeing them perform what they’ve been working on for so long. You witness the struggle of an actor memorizing their lines perfectly, then the proudness you feel during the actual production when they don’t mess up the lines they were struggling with earlier and perform them perfectly.

It’s also fun to see the goofiness between the cast and the ease they are at with each other while at the same time being incredibly nervous for their first show of the night. You witness the reassurance and the encouragement between everyone and you root for them. Even if they do mess up, you know the advice they got earlier will stay with them. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and I think we should all have an internal drama club within us to get through our daily lives.

The leading up to the play was very exciting but the moments before the curtain opening during 7th period made me incredibly nervous. I was stage crew, yet I was nervous. I had witnessed everything they were about to show the entire school and I was excited but it was extremely nerve-wracking, I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to be an actor. I decided to play stage crew for the 7-8th period performances but the only thing I had to worry about was switching roles for the night show to become an audience member in order to review the play. So, I soaked up every last moment of being Stage Crew.

Being behind the scenes is so cool but, it’s literally the perspective of behind the curtains. You don’t get to experience the possible rudeness of people around you, the laughter that can surround you or the view of the stage, good or bad. Maybe that sounds obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me until a few hours before the play started. I wouldn’t be able to be an audience member with the whole school when the reactions would be at its prime. I was a little disappointed but boy, was I excited to finally experience what it was like behind the curtains while the show is happening. One of the coolest things I experienced was Agape giving the cast one last pep talk before the curtained opened. Everyone paid close attention and absorbed her words. That’s when I realized how they looked up to her and how being a director really suited her. I was and still am a proud friend.

The minute the show started, it was game time. Once thing I learned from being backstage is how chaotic everything really is and how hilarious it is that the audience has no clue. There’s so much always going on that even though you’re back stage, you kind of have your own show going on. Even though the show is everywhere, there’s always something interesting to watch for. Despite from everything being chaotic, you are watching from the sidelines and cheering for the cast. It’s thrilling and nerve-wracking the entire time, there is never a dull moment. It’s such an interesting perspective that I’m very glad I was able to experience. I will never watch play ever again without wondering what is going on behind the curtains.

But one of my favorite parts of being a part of the whole stage crew experience is how I was able to view the perspective of the audience as well. I have never experience a certain call besides from being in the audience. The fact that I was able to just walk out on stage and to actually have the opportunity to take a bow just for running errands… I’ll never forget it. It’s an experience I never thought I would have and I’m fortunate that I was able to have it at least once.

It was bittersweet to become an audience member again but it was always comfortable. I didn’t have to worry or do anything but watch and to write a review later on. It’s a simple thing to be an audience member.

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