Error 1470: Tech Director Not Found

Michael Briesemeister

Mount Vernon’s Velvet Curtain Productions needs a tech director to ensure that its curtain stays hanging — and fast. 

The resident theatre troupe of the Mount Vernon High school currently lacks an incredibly important position — the tech director. How important, you may ask? Well, typically, the tech director handles the construction of sets, the building of set pieces, the rigging of lights, decisions on how and where to rig those lights, organizing and commanding techies (students on the tech team), the handling of potentially dangerous rigs that hoist and lower pieces from the ceiling, helping microphones get into working order, and advising the main director on how actors should position themselves. For an example of the differences between a show with a tech director and one without, take a look at the two shows of Fall 2021- Ugly Lies the Bone, and And Then There Were None. 

Ugly Lies the Bone, affectionately referred to as “Ugly” by its actors, lacked a tech director — or rather, was chosen -because of the lack of one. Ugly featured a unique setup in which the audience joined the actors on the stage, sitting in sections between the three prongs of the set. While this worked, there aren’t very many plays and even fewer musicals that have some sort of “gimmick” that decreases the need for a fully fleshed-out set. And Then There Were None, on the other hand, brought in tech director Brad Gaetz, and the effect was obvious- an entire backdrop with doors going backstage, a raised platform, a few props scattered around the scene. Thankfully, Director Tom Stephens begged Gaetz to come back for the upcoming musical, so the set can be built. But there’s no guarantee that Gaetz will come back again, so Mount Vernon needs its own tech director. 

Ideally, the office should be searching for someone just beginning their career and offer the position at Mount Vernon as a stepping stone. Clearly, the school doesn’t have it in the budget to pay a tech director a lot, so anyone with experience probably wouldn’t be willing to take the wage offered, but someone looking to build a resume before moving to official play tech directing would be a perfect fit. The students on the tech team could learn from someone fresh out of college and make the decision if they might want to take classes in stage management once they graduate. 

Now, some may ask what the tech director will do in the offseason when there are no plays or musicals happening? Well, in truth, there is very little time when planning for plays is not happening. The fall plays have very little lull in between them, although there is a little bit of a break. In that time, the tech director could go over the PAC and thoroughly clean it, ensure that everything is still organized, reorganize if necessary, and help set up for any concerts. When the theater performances are finally done for the year, the tech director can go in search of partnerships with theater companies, to provide the department with new equipment at lower prices, or assist in decoration and/or cleaning the PAC for end-of-year concerts.

A new tech director is essential for the theater department. From building sets to saving money, and even helping students decide what they want to do in the future, a tech director does a lot for the theater program, and Mount Vernon can do a lot for them.