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Rampage

RHS Stage Crew Expertly Conveys Idea that “All the World’s a Stage” in Fall Productions

Members of the fall productions stage crew and actors demonstrate how the set’s multilevel platform will be used during the performances.

The RHS Drama Club is renowned for the quality of its theatrical productions. The shows themselves attract high praise from audiences, but most attendees are unaware of the hard work that goes into constructing the set and props that the actors interact with on stage.

This year, the club faced the unique task of simultaneously presenting two fall shows, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “As You Like It,” which were both staged in the high school auditorium from Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, 2023.

“For us, the challenge was to come up with a design that would be descriptive enough and flexible enough to tell multiple stories,” set designer-advisor Jennifer Marchese said. “The set remained the same, but we dressed it and lit it slightly differently to change the mood.”

The ideal set needed to be utilitarian in its design and purpose but also convey the theme of Shakespeare’s famous quote from “As You Like It” that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

As constructed, the stage set consisted of several platforms on which the performers could stand and move. On each side of the stage were large columns covered in cursive text, written in the style that was common in Shakespearean England.

Building such a set was no small task. The stage crew volunteered long hours of their time after school and on weekends to see through the successful design and construction of each set. The process began with planning on paper the necessary aesthetic and functional logistics so that the actors would be able to move freely around the set. Once this was accomplished, work on the smaller props and furniture commenced while materials for the larger projects were being prepared. Objects from an expansive backstage inventory of materials from past productions were often repurposed for use in multiple shows.

Work on the set itself started on weekends halfway through the production schedule for each show. Materials were laid out, the basic structures and frames were assembled and the rest of the set came together during the subsequent weeks.

The amount of time spent on the set grew as opening night drew closer. The culmination of the crew’s work occurred during tech week, when the show was rehearsed with all technical elements for the first time. Crew members typically worked late into the evening to ensure work was completed in time.

The stage crew’s work continued into the run of the shows themselves. Everything on the stage, including the furniture, props and rigs, had to be maneuvered into place in tandem with its importance in the show. The rigs in particular were unique in that they held anything that hung, such as the backdrops, curtains and scenery.

Potential safety concerns, including the operation of the power tools and rigs, also had to be addressed. “There are many safety precautions taken to set up and run everything smoothly,” set building coordinator Jay Randel explained. “Each scene change contains trust between the cast and crew for it to run flawlessly.”

The fall shows were a great success thanks, in part, to the dedication of the stage crew members. They will be able to put their expertise into practice once again with the spring musical, “Into the Woods,” which runs from Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 23, 2024.

About the Contributor
Yuri Perelman
Yuri Perelman, Staff Reporter
Yuri Perelman is a senior at RHS and a staff reporter for Rampage. A life-long passion for writing led him to take Journalism 1 this year, and he is excited to contribute to the long-running tradition at Randolph that is Rampage. Yuri's prior writing experience includes producing the Ram Report morning show and being featured in numerous issues of RHS Literary Magazine. He is also a musician who is a member of the RHS Band and taught himself to play piano in a music class at the high school.
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