The Hallway: Behind the scenes of Little Shop of Horrors

As the opening night for Weston High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors creeps up, members of the cast are working nonstop to bring the show to perfection. But they’re not the only ones spending long hours in rehearsal. The tech crew has attended every rehearsal, creating effects that make the show seem surreal, while the pit orchestra provides all the instrumental music for the show in real time.

Members of tech spend their time backstage or in the lighting booth, and the orchestra resides in a walled-off space that’s essentially underneath the stage — it’s called “the pit” for a reason. Many of the individuals who work so hard offstage to keep the show running barely get any recognition.

“The work the crew does is demanding, crucial, and all behind the scenes in order to create the magic that happens onstage,” said Avery Roche, stage manager and student director of the show.

Because the crew isn’t in the limelight, they are often forgotten about, but those sets don’t change by themselves when the lights go out. The crew is under constant pressure to perfectly execute all the physical changes that take place on stage, from lighting adjustments to prop placement. One tiny slip-up could be disastrous for the actors, so each tech member has to know exactly what to do at precisely the right time throughout the play. It’s a rigorous job that’s both physically and mentally demanding, and the 28 members of the crew do it all without a second thought.

I’ve been in the pit orchestra since my freshman year. I’m just one of several who volunteer for the ensemble, and spend our time after school in the band room or in the pit working through our parts. Anyone in the orchestra can tell you it’s a unique experience to play for a musical.

We work rigorously both with and without the cast to ensure we sound our best. But because most of us are instrumental soloists or play in other orchestras and bands, we aren’t used to being out of the sight of our audience. Our objective during the play is to support the singers and help generate the show’s atmosphere. But while we don’t want to distract from what’s happening on stage, the musicians deserve recognition for laying the foundation for the show’s music. Everyone from the drummer to the clarinet player is working as hard as they can to make sure they nail their parts and keep in time with the cast.

So if you go to see Weston High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, which is running March 23 through March 26, be sure to keep your eye out for students wearing all black. They’re likely part of one of these behind-the-scenes groups, getting ready to start the show or celebrating after a perfect performance.

The Hallway is a weekly column written on a rotating basis by Weston High School students.

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