Going Pro

Musical crew works with professional set designer

Odochi Akwani, Co-Online Editor

Often times when the musical is spoken about at school, the focus is centered on the actors and what they are doing on stage. While necessary and noteworthy to mention their accomplishments, what goes on behind the scenes helps set the foundation for the production as well.

For the 2016 fall musical, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, the set crew will be receiving help from an outside source, John Horton, a professional set designer. He will design a blueprint of the set based on the designs of Elizabeth Meyers.

Horton will also be working alongside the students to teach them how to build the set following his blueprint designs. With his influence they hope to create a more sound and stable set. Director of Choral Activities Megan Tantillo, was the decision-maker, who chose to seek out professional help.

“The musical this year, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, is one with an enormous double staircase. This would be a lofty challenge for any high school set crew, so it was necessary to look for external help,” Tantillo said.

Along with that, there is a time crunch this year for the musical. Instead of the usual three months to prepare for this production, they have a mere two months to get ready for the shows on October 14-16. Set chief Danny Igo, believes with the help of the blueprints from Horton, the set will be done in time.

“If the architect gives a full visual, it will be done faster,” Igo said.

The full visual will delineate to the set crew what they need to create and the ways in which to do so. By working with a professional, the students are able to get a feel for how a real life set design works. It’s given them the opportunity to work side by side with a man who has made a career out of this.

Set crew member, Jayson Smith even helped in the creation of the blueprints ensuring they will be easily understandable to the rest of the crew.

“They’ve had real professional experience of what stage productions look like in the real world,” stage manager Courtney Tompkins, said.

Students on set crew are learning the in’s and out’s of carpentry and the proper way to use tools such as the power drill and the table saw. On top of that, they are learning about different types of wood and their uses.

“I’m learning a lot. It was intimidating at first, but now I’ve got into the groove of it, especially the drills because we’ve been using them so often,” set crew member Emma Gibbs said.

The students are calling this staircase “The Monster” with its 7-foot-tall frame that is said to take up half the stage, eliminating the possibility of multiple set changes.

The designer will supply the students with the blueprints as well as the necessary amount of wood for them to build this mass of a set. The production is scheduled to be put on mid-October.

“We are very excited for this year’s musical, and we look forward to seeing the seats filled come opening night for this one of a kind story about a con-artist’s life.” Tantillo said.