Tech crews in theater (at least at Marquette) are
sometimes never respected. It’s infuriating because we are the ones that make the show happen. A common saying is, “without us, actors will be standing naked in the dark with the audience unable to hear them.” I don’t know why the actors and our own director try to belittle our work. We also work very hard to make the show work. In case you didn’t know, finding a very specific free sound effect is not the easiest thing to do, especially when the director is super picky. Hanging microphones isn’t a walk in the park either.
Actors and directors (Marquette’s and the student directors) believe that the booth, or Tech Island as I like to call it, can work magic. They think that we can make anything happen with a snap of our fingers. If we don’t or can’t get it done, they start to whine and complain and yell at us for it not being done. I’m sorry that we’re working on outdated equipment (the sound board is from the 90s).
Actors and directors also believe that microphones will pick up actor’s voices no matter what level they are speaking at. I thought it was common sense that if you are whispering, a microphone ten feet above your head will not pick you up. Nine times out of ten I am the one who gets yelled at because the actors can’t be heard (from the director and audience members). When I have every gain knob turned up all the way, and I am on the verge of feedback, it is not my fault. Actors should know how to project. I’m a pretty quiet person, but I can project louder than most of these actors; I’ve never acted a day in my life. I feel bad for the spotlight operators. They rely on cue lines to know when to turn on the spot. They have a very loud fan (because our school is too cheap for LED spots) blaring in their ear the entire show. If the actors are not projecting, the spot operator will not hear their line, therefore, they will not hit the cue on time. This one mishap can ruin an entire show.
No, tech crews don’t rehearse almost everyday, but we put all of our effort into what we do. The director and actors need to get off of their high horses and understand that we are not their puppets. It’s complete BS when an actor messes up in rehearsal and the director says, “oh, that’s OK. We’ll work on it,” and I get yelled at when I accidentally cause the slightest amount of feedback on the first rehearsal day. I hadn’t even had time to do an initial soundcheck! How long has it been since the director told you that you needed to have your lines memorized? Two weeks?
In my current situation, it doesn’t help that I still don’t have scripts for the three one act plays. In order for me to know that there are sound effects, I have to read through the script. I also won’t be able to call sound cues because I have no script to follow. MTC’s (Marquette Theater Company) theater director said, “I only made enough copies of the scripts for the actors.” Gee thanks for looking out for your crews. Add more insult to the injury. I see how much respect we get. The crew list didn’t even go up until three days before the first rehearsal. Three days.
The only reason I’m still a part of MTC is because I need as much experience with sound as I can get, and the fact that I work with some pretty awesome people up on Tech Island. Booth Crew (lights and sound) is probably the most fun group I’ve ever been a part of.
We’ve got a show Friday and Saturday night. Then, all that’s left is the play in April, and I’m home free.
My senior speech for the Senior MTC Banquet is going to be so passive agressive. I can’t wait to deliver it.