Getting Technical with Tech Crew


Lucas Bleyle, Diversions Editor

Anyone who sits in the auditorium could never imagine the magic that happens behind the stage. Starting at 10 on Saturday, and often lasting long into the afternoon, the stage comes to life with the thudding of hammers, the whirring of saws, and the laughter and shouting of students hard at work cobbling together flats to create a set. Students crawl up high on catwalks changing the lights or adjusting weights. Across the seating area from the stage deft hands adjust lights and sound, sometimes working, sometimes DJing.

The orderly, clean facade that most see merges on either side into a space of cluttered creativity. One sweep of the space takes one through a series of stories; whether that be a fragment of a painted set or a costume slung across a table. Almost anywhere the eye settles is a little bit of a fictitious world. The walls are so covered with paint, old flats, and shelves that little of the gray cement wall can be seen through it.

“Probably my most memorable play was Annie Get Your Gun where we had to suspend a girl from one of the fly rails safely and she performed these trick shots, ” said Mr. Woolery, eighth year sponsor of Drama Club and Tech crew. This evokes an image that illustrates the role of Tech Crew. They are the behind the scene force that prevents poor Annie from plummeting to her death.

The name tech crew suggests a group of students huddled around sound systems, and light boards, and when not building sets, it consists mostly of activities of the more techy type.

“We support any activity that takes place in the auditorium,” said Mr. Woolery. ”From a concert, to a performance, to a dance, to a speaker we have to support that with lights and sound, so we do quite a bit.” Tech crew also is currently helping outside the school for Madrigal dinner.

“We are essentially the foundation of the Auditorium,” said senior Joey Bingham, tech head. The tech head position is to manage tech crew, produce shows, and, he added, “To unlock things.” Tech crew is the foundation of the Auditorium, but it also has been a foundation of a potential career in theatre for Joey.

“It’s given me a lot of new opportunities to learn a lot of new life skills like leadership. I do this professionally now at the city auditorium,” said Joey Bingham. “I hope to do it throughout college and I’m applying to be a part-time technician for the school district.”
The crew has big plans for the Bye Bye Birdie musical happening later in the school year.

“We hope to have a two story set, which will be a first for Ames high auditorium, and very elaborate moving pieces,” said Joey. With this project soon to be underway, the auditorium will be buzzing with more activity than ever on Saturdays. The Musical may be Bye Bye Birdie, but for tech crew it is hello hammers, hello saws, hello paint, and also hello fun.