What does it take to be a techie?

As tech week begins, junior Hope Smith sweeps up the stage to prepare for the rehearsal that is soon to begin. This stage will soon be filled with a lively cast performing “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Chloe Beery, XPress Staff

As tech week begins, junior Hope Smith sweeps up the stage to prepare for the rehearsal that is soon to begin. This stage will soon be filled with a lively cast performing “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Chloe Beery, Staff Writer

When it comes to theater, the term “techies” might be one of the first things that come to mind, but what does that really mean? According to the assistant stage manager of Brophy and Xavier’s upcoming production “Peter and the Starcatcher” Carrington Chipman, “A techie is basically anyone who works backstage.” But what does it really take to be part of tech? 

It is a common sentiment among faculty and student leaders that critical thinking, problem solving and good organization are necessary for tech. Stagecraft teacher Teresa Corderman said, “I think you’ve got to be able to manage your time and be organized.” Corderman explains that being able to manage the chaos that comes with putting on these productions is key, saying, “being able to just roll with it and be flexible” is an important quality. 

Thomas Lytle, another stagecraft teacher involved in set design, believes critical thinking and having the ability to see the bigger picture when building sets are some of the most important qualities of a techie. Lytle stressed the importance of having a “safety mindset” when working on build projects to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

As a student leader, Chipman spoke about how it is necessary to be assertive and confident when working in tech. “It’s more about putting yourself out there,” said Chipman, explaining the importance of the determination it takes to be successful in the tech world of Xavier and Brophy productions. Chipman mentioned how it is essential to remember that these tech jobs should be fun, and that with the right mindset it can be incredibly fulfilling. 

Often, working tech can be perceived as much more challenging or much easier than it actually is. “Anyone who wants to do theater can,” Corderman said. It just requires motivation. On the other hand, Lytle spoke about how the job is about being able to learn to do a task and transferring those skills to do more. 

While all of this information is great, what about specific qualities Xavier’s team has that makes the theater department so successful? Lytle spoke about how his background in the engineering industry has given him useful knowledge for this current field in stagecraft. He also mentions his ability to work with a team is extremely useful. 

Corderman also spoke of her ability to work as a team, but specified that her ability to lead these teams is also of great value. She added that her generally creative mindset has been very helpful in the past, especially when it comes to set design. A final aspect Corderman prided herself on is her organizational skills, expressing that it is truly important to be organized in order to be successful. 

From a student perspective, Chipman considered her friendly nature and ability to talk to anyone as one of her most valuable skills. Being able to form connections with people is great in any field, but especially in theater. Chipman believes that her assertiveness has helped her get as far as she has in Xavier’s theater world. 

Teachers shared the common notion that seeing the confidence in students with their stagecraft abilities is by far one of the best aspects. Both Corderman and Lytle shared the belief that getting to teach students to no longer be intimidated by the tools used to build sets for shows is a wonderful experience. Lytle spoke about how the size of Xavier’s production team allows for much fewer mistakes, and that helps make shows run more smoothly. 

Taking into account the perspective of a student, Chipman noted that one thing she considers to be the best part of working backstage is simply the fact that you get to be backstage. Even though the job as assistant stage manager can be tedious, and a bit stressful, the job does not come with the added pressure of memorizing lines, or even being in front of an audience at all. Chipman mentioned that these perks should be taken into consideration for people who are shy but still want to get involved. 

The community surrounding working tech at Xavier has been very impactful. Faculty members and student actors greatly and positively speak about how much they love being a part of the play production.

So the next time you see a Brophy and Xavier production, remember the techies backstage that make the magic happen.