Tek Krew


When Ames High puts on its annual musical performance, the focus of the spotlight typically falls directly onto the leads, the most easily recognizable faces of the performance. But those operating the spotlight need not be left in the shadows.


The tech crew (“techies”), a passionate band of behind-the-scenes magicians, is largely responsible for the brilliance of the drama department’s acclaim-worthy shows. From operating lights to building sets to handling mics, these dedicated crew members perform a slew of tasks that are an integral part of the success of each and every performance, especially this year’s dance-laden production of “Footloose.”


“Its the actors job to make the show. We make the show happen”, says sophomore Joey Bingham, stage manager of this year’s production. “Everything that the actors do, we accentuate to the audience.”


This “accentuation” begins to take place long before the first members of the audience take their seats in the auditorium on opening night. The techies recruit new members months in advance of the show, and begin working on the set weeks ahead of time. They go hard in the paint.


“One of the most humbling things that I’ve done is set work,” says Anna Oglivie, junior member of the “Footloose” cast. “The Bingham brothers taught me how to use a saw. You think you know how to use a saw, but you don’t. I have one hundred percent respect for the techies.”


A nuance of the tech crew is the fact that its members are literal professionals. Techies are paid the minimum hourly wage for their work, mitigated by their sponsor and noble leader Mr. Woolery, Ames High English teacher and head of the drama department. That sets them apart from other clubs in Ames High, all of which toil at their craft hour after hour and actually lose money, valued in time spent away from homework and bed. The techies at least get to break-even, but in return, they have a lot of responsibility riding on their shoulders.


The equipment they handle is a tad bit pricey. “We fix the lights so that they actually shine,” says Bingham. “The instruments are incredibly expensive, so we have to keep them working so we don’t have to replace them. Each instrument is (worth) about $3000.”


For a musical to be a success, there must be cohesion between all people involved, from the director to the actors to the techies to associated others. Although no play can legitimately hope to go off without a few hitches here and there, the tech crew helps to ensure that only mild-mannered Drew Carey shows up, barring entrance to the more exacerbated problems that arise when Will Smith arrives. A play cannot be performed without actors, but actors would have no play to act out if it weren’t for the techies.