Technical Crew Along Side Actors Work to Bring Play to Life

Tech crew members Giovanni Saputo, Manuel Hernandez and Steven Vasquez at work. / Laura Garcia / el Don

Tech crew members Giovanni Saputo, Manuel Hernandez and Steven Vasquez at work. / Laura Garcia / el Don

Meghan Kliewer

The Theatre Department’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross challenges students and faculty actors with gender-bending roles, but some of the most essential parts are played by the technical crew.

The crew for Santa Ana College’s performances are in charge of light installation and programming, audio, stage building, set-up and scene changes. But the essence of these jobs is to remain unseen by the audience, meaning the people behind the curtain aren’t always recognized for their work.

“There’s not enough credit to the stage crew,” said crew member Giovanni Saputo. “Without us doing our job, the actors wouldn’t be able to do theirs.”

However, some students don’t mind playing the unseen hand.

“I’ll always prefer behind-the-scenes work because I like putting the set together,” stage crew member Steven Vasquez said.

The co-existence between actors and the technical crew requires the appreciation of each other, said Theatre Department Chair Valinda Tivenan.

“The people who are part of the tech crew have a tight-knit relationship with the actors,” Tivenan said.

Actors and crew share a collaborative relationship, exchanging cues with each other throughout scenes. This interdependence is essential to the execution of every play.

The crew also helps the actors get and stay in character, said theatre student MacKenzie Morris.

“I’m so glad they’re there taking care of things like the lights because it completely changes the mood of the scene,” actor Araseli Chavez said.

Some students in the technical classes aspire to earn careers in acting but are gaining valuable experience on the production side.

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“There is a lot of work put into this, but people don’t see it,” said crew member Vasquez.

The team is a mix of students with different goals. Some are freshmen seeking a degree in technical production.

Others work full-time and are taking classes to advance their skills and gain experience for better career positions.

“I work at the Yost Theater right now and I’m part of this crew to learn how to take care of lights so I can go on tour for electronic music events,” Saputo said.

Alumni of SAC’s technical production program have gone on to work behind the scenes at amusement parks like Disneyland, Tivenan said.

Others work at Medieval Times and sports arenas, on concert tours and at other entertainment businesses.

“Students will take many classes in our program even if the classes don’t transfer because at SAC we have more in-depth training that they won’t get at the universities,” Tivenan said.