Behind the limelight
Senior Jamie Laning shares his experinces from working behind the scenes on the musicals and plays.
What do you do for the musical?
For the musical I run the lightboard and focus all the lights. [I] make sure they’re aimed where they need to be aimed and basically do whatever else needs to get done with lighting or sound. [I] make sure the microphones work and are turned on at the appropriate times.
Do you plan to continue working in theater?
My hopes are to continue working in the technical aspects of music and theater, [including] producing shows.
How did you get involved working backstage?
I got involved freshman year. I was in Mr. Copeland’s seminar class and I asked him if I could run something technical for the show, because I’ve been involved in previous shows in middle school and just wanted to get involved here.
How much time and effort do you put into the shows?
The amount of time I spend on a given show, between all of the rehearsals and building sets, [is] over 150 hours per show.
Why do you continue to work backstage?
I continue because it’s fun. It does take a lot of work and it’s stressful but the outcome, putting on the show, is fun. [It’s] rewarding to see that people appreciate and enjoy what I’ve done or what I’ve helped to put out, and helped to accomplish.
What is your favorite part of working on the musicals?
My favorite part would have to be the people. We just have a lot of fun, even during some of the most stressful times.
What is your least favorite part of working on the musicals?
My least favorite [part] is tech week. Having to get all of the lights timed to the right spots, and making sure all the mics are working, because the mics are evil. But making sure they all work on time and that they work when we need them to [is not fun].
How has working on the muscial given you experience for later in life?
Working on the musical has given me a lot of experience on how different systems work, how to best light a show, how to make a show look certain ways and sound how you want it to [in order] to get the right message across. It has given me the skills to be able to do that and use different technology.
How will you miss not being able to work on the musical next year after you graduate?
It will just be different not having the same group of people or the same location. I’m sure there will be other places that I can work, but it has just been one of the best experiences I’ve had.
How do you feel people appreciate the work you’ve put into the musical?
I feel like the people that know what I do and the amount of work that I [put in] really appreciate what I do. But the ones that don’t know that I’m there just take it for granted. [They just think] ‘oh, it got done’.
What is your favorite memory from working on the musical?
My favorite memory would probably have to be my first show here, which was “Thirty Reasons Not To Be In a Play” because we just had a lot of fun with that show and the cast and crew were all really close.
After working on the technical aspect, have you ever considered acting?
I’ve thought about acting in a show but my preference is to work on the backstage aspects. I think it would be fun to be an actor but at this point I’m still working backstage.