Techies, actors pivotal to success

Techies, actors pivotal to success


The UA Theatre Department acquires all theater majors, performance and technical alike, to take both acting classes and technical classes. MCT Campus

Luke Haynes

While this statement may be dripping with sardonicism, there is certainly some truth to its premise. Techies, who reside behind the spotlight rather than in it, are accomplished artists and craftsmen, and they play a huge role in making sure any given show is a success.

As Leslie’s quote suggests, there is often friction between actors and techies. For actors, there is nothing more frustrating than a lighting designer who keeps fluctuating the lights while they’re trying to rehearse. For techies, the same applies to actors who are so busy warming up for their performances that they can’t sit still for a mic check.

However, despite these quarrels, mutual respect can exist between techies and actors. While there is the occasional playful sparring between the “board geeks” and “bio props” in the wings, the archetype of the diva performer and the unsympathetic techie is rarely actually encountered. Regardless of an individual’s preferred side of the stage, those who work at the theater are artists. This knowledge compels every thespian and techie alike to grant their fellow artists the respect they deserve.

The UA theatre department is working to develop this respect by requiring all theatre majors, performance and technical alike, to take both acting classes and technical classes. Theatrical cross-training serves many purposes, including introducing students to a side of theater that they might thoroughly enjoy.

Knowing how the other half thinks is a valuable tool for both actors and techies. An actor who knows the intricacies of costume design may unlock new aspects of his character by studying his costume. A prop designer may use experience with stage combat to know when to sacrifice realism for ease of use when creating weapons. Everyone can learn something from a course in directing.

Understanding breeds respect, and that is what every theatrical artist deserves. While it is true that techies and artists can both make fabulous works of art on their own, nothing can rival the magic spawned from their synergy. Maybe Leslie’s statement should read: “An actor without techies is the same as a techie without actors: an artist who is not reaching his full potential.”