Behind the Curtain: Crew supporting Friday debut

“It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered in 1946, but the first time CFHS students will be performing it is at 7:30 on Thursday night. A lot of work goes into the production — not just acting, but behind the scene jobs.

Gabe Gotera: Set Constructor

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-33-38-amGotera is not only one of the main set constructors, but also an actor in the show. Gotera said he started working on the set two or three months before the show.

“When our tech director isn’t here, I try to keep things in order. If he is here, then I will talk with him and supervise what needs to be done,” Gotera said.

The tech director is Billy Weiland, a CFHS graduate.

“The hardest set piece to make was the wheelchair ramp, mainly because we are kind of limited with the tools we have. We figured out how to make it, but it was difficult,” Gotera said.

On Saturdays, a lot of the cast come out to help with set construction. Gotera sometimes comes in before or after school to help build the set.

“On a set construction day, I try to come early. There are usually a couple different projects being worked on. We see people who are painting, doing lights and people who are doing set pieces. I tend to help with lights or set pieces,” Gotera said.

Set constructions usually last anywhere from 8-noon, but since the play is so close, they have been extended so they can get more things done.

“I can work on the set anywhere from four-12 hours a day. It makes my head a little crispy, but I enjoy it and wouldn’t trade anything for it. It gets intense, but I definitely enjoy it.”

Nicasio Martin-Ask: Light Designer/Set Construtor

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-35-39-am“My job is to set up and design lights. I was trained by Jared, the lights designer before me. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I’ve been relying on him, but lately things have started to go more smoothly,” Martin-Ask said.

Since Martin-Ask is a senior this year, it will be his job this year to train someone to take over the lights.

“I’ve been helping out Gabe with set construction. Last time we counted, we had been working for over 70 hours by now,” Martin-Ask said.

Gotera and Martin-Ask have put an incredible amount of time into designing the set this year. This show in particular has one of the biggest sets they have ever made.  

“The most difficult part of my job is designing, figuring out where to put things and where they look the best. It’s kind of tricky, but once everything is in place it becomes easier.”

In this play, the setting is winter time. The narrators in the show are angels, and they sit on a platform looking down onto the audience and the stage. On the fence of the platform, Martin-Ask did a wonderful job using blue and white Christmas lights to make the angels appear more “heavenly” and the set more winter-like.

Rachel Ochoa: Sound

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-37-56-am“I run sounds and do mics as well in this play. My job is to make sure the sound cues are right and the mics are set up correctly.”

Ochoa was trained when she was a sophomore to run the mics and sound.

“When I was a sophomore, they were looking for someone who was younger to take over sound. A senior taught me how to use the sound board and set up the mics. I’ve been learning through my own mistakes as well since then.”

Ochoa not only does sound and mics for play, but also the one act.

“The most difficult part of my job is getting the sound cues right and on time, or finding the sounds that would be the best fit for the play. Doing all of it myself is pretty hard because I only have two hands.”

Ochoa is the only sound person, so her job gets a little hectic trying to manage both mics and lights.

“This year I feel behind. I still need to find some sounds, and I need to make sure the sound cues are where they are supposed to be.”

Like everyone else, Ochoa said she enjoys the play, although it’s a very stressful job.

“I love being able to be in the booth and watching the play come together. It’s a lot of hard work, but it definitely pays off in the end.”

Katie Klaver: Assistant Stage Manager

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-39-00-amKlaver, a junior, holds the title of assistant stage manager. She is being trained to be the head stage manager next year. This is Klaver’s second year, or third show, working as a stage hand.

“I follow the stage manager around and put everything where it needs to go. We put the props in the right places so the actors have easy access to them. We have help from our techies, and we tell them which props are assigned to them and what they need to do.”

The stage managers wear mics so they can communicate because they are on opposite sides of the stage. In this production, there are a lot of props and set changes. Backstage, the stage managers are in charge of the prop tables.

“The hardest part of my job is the stress. It’s a lot of moving around, telling other people what to do and trying to remember what goes where.”

Check out more of what the cast and crew have to say in the video below.

Photos from the play can be found right here:

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