The Trials and Tribulations of the “Sound and Light Guys”
by Audrey Dubois
With each production, there are a select few who have the privilege of watching every single performance of the show for free. They sit on a lofty precipice, high above the rest of the audience, comfortable in their superiority. These few, these elite, are known simply as the tech crew.
At first blush the life of a technician does not sound extremely appealing. There is a lot of pressure to pay attention to cues, and a patient demeanor is a must. In my experience, the technicians have been more familiar with the script that most of the actors by the end of the torture of Tech Week. And while the actors and actresses take their bows and absorb the applause, the light crew is left in the back frantically reminding the lead characters to turn in their wireless microphones without tangling the cord.
But with all this responsibility comes prestige and power. The lighting and sound technicians are probably the most important part of the show. Imagine arriving at a play where you could neither see nor hear the actors. Unless it was an entirely scent-based production, there would be little value in such a show. The tech crew holds in their hands the success of the performance.
Tech has a stigma of being the division of rejected actors. Like most stereotypes, this is unfounded and untrue. Being a technician requires a lot of skill, dexterity, and responsibility. The tech crew is an amalgam of personalities. Many of them are seasoned actors; others would rather be behind the scenes than in front of them. What they all share is a commitment to their work and a desire to help, and deserve so much more respect than they usually receive. The sound and light crew is a friendly reminder that you don’t have to be under the spotlight to shine.