The day of the show finally arrives, and tech’s work begins hours before the curtain opens. Publicity hangs signs marking the reserved seats, brings in drinks and snacks for the concession stand and sets up the lobby. They also give the parents of the actors the opportunity to write “candy grams,” notes that the publicity team will give to the actors backstage during intermission.
In the theater, sound director Rowan Mohan calls the actors onto the stage one by one, where they talk and sing as she adjusts their microphones on the soundboard. Actors who aren’t getting their mics checked head to the “Green Room” backstage, where the costumes team gives them their outfits and does their hair and makeup. Once tech checks every mic, organizes the props and gets the actors suited in full costume, the entire production staff meets in the main part of the theater 45 minutes before the show.
They gather in a circle as the pre-show rituals begin, where they link hands and pass a hand squeeze around the circle. After a pep talk from McGowan and a read-aloud of a letter from a Whitman Drama alumni, they go through a traditional non-religious prayer to Saint Genesius, the patron saint of theater.
After lots of cheering, everyone finally heads to their places, whether it’s the lighting booth, soundboard or backstage. As stage manager Luka Byrne moves around backstage calling, “Places!” the lights finally dim and there are whispers of “break a leg” before the opening number begins and the tech crew falls silent.
From then on, it’s a well-oiled machine. Running crew carries chairs on and off stage, the costumes team waits in the wings for quick changes and any sound or lighting issues are solved through the coms—headphones that the team directors wear to communicate with each other. With one of the most important jobs in tech, Byrne relays cues over the coms for the entire show. For example, he’d call for a blackout on stage from the lighting director or a sound effect from the sound director.
Three hours of songs and dance numbers later, tech’s work is finally done—until the next night.