The Theater of Oz – Jen S

As Talons students, many of us have a multitude of interests and passions. Sometimes, this can lead to being very very very busy, and as a result, very very very stressed. But ultimately, it is what makes us who we are, and it gives us the opportunity to be well rounded, interesting people. This is what Jen S had to say about working as a techie for the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz:

“I say she is a foot into the light”. “I say the top half of her body it in it”. “The entire top half of her body is out of the dark spot and in to the light”. Damn actors, just a few feet to the left and you’ll be the right spot, and then everyone can be happy. This is what the tech booth is like during a production of The Wizard of Oz. That, plus some interesting conversations over the portacom, constant jokes and criticism about the play, five computers, a lighting board, and a sound system all in constant use, and the techies. There were four of us today: two Talons kids, a really intelligent but questionably reliable grade 11 student, and a graduate who is training to be a paramedic but keeps getting pulled back here to help. We have some interesting conversations.

That is one thing about the theater. It is never boring. Someone is always arguing, yelling, dancing, singing, making giant paper airplanes… the list goes on. Most of the time it is nuts. We got a new sound system less than a week before the show (not a good thing, to put it lightly), and the proper software added after we had done several shows (an even worse thing). Learning how to use that system (which I have some less than kind words to describe), setting up a half decent user interface, trying to get the wireless mics working (not an easy task), I could go on. You learn a lot in the theater; usually for me it is about the sound system or how to convince admin to buy more equipment for the theater, but other times it is a biology lesson from a mostly-trained paramedic. The theater is a leaning environment, just not always a safe one. In school, you are put in situations where is it safe to fail so you can learn, in the theater you are put in situations where you either figure it out and succeed, or you fail. Then you either let everyone down, or you’re laughed at, sometimes both.

Some of it is scary, hanging lights on a ceiling that reaches up to the second story, while the man-lift you are on sways back and forth. Climbing stairs in the pitch black where the only thing keeping you from falling is the fact that you have memorized the number of steps in each staircase. You could say that work in the theater has helped me develop my leadership, if you count yelling at everyone to get them to lead. Here is thing though. When you become this involved in the theater, you lose your social life, and in return, gain the theater family. It is crazy, it is stressful and it is so much fun. At the end of each production of The Wizard of Oz, the entire cast comes out to take a bow, with costumes on, happy music playing and, well, smoke… every single performance, someone backstage has turned on both smoke machines during the bows sequence, and by the time we get back stage it looks and smells like someone hotboxed the theater. And that is the place where I spend most of my time. The theater.

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