Behind-the-scenes work props up Studio 58

Unsung heroes move studio from one performance to the next

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By CHRISTOPHER HARCOURT

Behind-the-scenes roles will play a huge part in the potential success of Studio 58’s final production of the year, according to the faculty and students involved in production.

Crew roles were given out last week for the upcoming production, Metamorphoses, performing from Nov.17 to Nov. 24. The roles include marketing, sound, lighting, and costumes.

The critical and often invisible work done in pre-and post-production is often as laborious and challenging as the performances audiences get to enjoy.

The days have been longer for Studio 58 students as Metamorphoses will be performed off-campus at the historic East Vancouver theatre, The Cultch.

Backstage heroes

Samuel Walmsley-Byrne, a student of the Studio 58 theatre program, said the backstage roles are the unsung heroes of play performances.

“So much of the focus in the interviews is on the actors in film and TV,” he said. “When you see a show that you like, don’t just remember the faces of the people on stage — remember the people who worked on it.”

Halla Bertrand, Studio 58 communications and marketing manager, said this upcoming off-site production affects the job of students on the marketing crew.

“I think it’s really important with this upcoming show to create a sense of hype and excitement that we are out on the town,” said Bertrand.  “I think it’s a really good opportunity for us to broaden our community and the folks that come to see the show.”

Sweat and blood

Ruth Bruhn, Studio 58 faculty and production manager said the 66 theatre students, who are in the program, go through a lot of work when wrapping up a production. Leading up to the opening night, students were in “cue-to-cue” or “tech week.” Cue-to-cue is a physical rehearsal to run through the performance without dialogue. During tech week — a week prior to opening night —sound, lights, set, costumes and makeup are present for the first time in a week.

Bruhn said the days are long, sometimes running 12–14 hours.

“When you open a show on Saturday then you do it for the next week, and they’re still going to classes, people are very tired,” she said.

Studio 58 technical director Kevin MacDonald said the program makes sure students are well accustomed to the different roles in theatre — including the backstage roles.

“The idea is that everybody, whether you’re in production or acting, gets a really good sense of what it takes to do a play,” said MacDonald. “What it takes to be an actor, a designer, a builder, stage manager, and all those different roles.”

Rachel Ross, a student who has worked as a stage manager for Studio 58 productions, said behind-the-scenes work is “crucial” to a well-rounded production.

“It’s what makes theatre magical. There are so many moving parts that people can’t even begin to imagine how much stuff goes on behind-the-scenes,” said Ross.

VIDEO: Ruth Bruh, Studio 58 faculty and production manager, and Rachel Ross, Studio 58 student, and stage manager share the challenges that they face daily during productions at Studio 58.

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