Ever since his freshman year, senior Justin Kalish has been a part of South’s stage crew. By being a part of stage crew, Kalish says he has learned how to build sets and work with lighting and sound. For this year’s Variety Show, Kalish was the stage manager and says that he had to give about 530 cues. Currently, Kalish is the stage manager for this year’s spring musical, Fiddler on the Roof, showing on April 26-29.
What skills have you learned by being on stage crew?
“One of the biggest things that I have learned from stage crew is how to solve problems […]. Plans don’t work out the way they are supposed to, and then we have to find another way to go about completing those tasks […] [to] get the best end result. If we build something that doesn’t work the way that it’s supposed to, we might need to make changes to the plan […] to have things work out a little better.”
What is the most challenging task you have had while being on stage crew?
“The most challenging task was probably stage managing the past variety show because there was just a lot to do, and even though we had two weeks of rehearsals, it never felt like it was enough time to get the show perfectly memorized. It’s not expected to get the show perfectly memorized, but it is important to get super familiar and get to know what happens in the show.”
Do you ever get nervous before a big show?
“For every show, even if it’s like something as small as Dance Show, there is always a little bit of nervousness. The biggest [nerves] come with the first show. The opening night is the first time you have [run through the show] in front of people, but after that, it just becomes like routine, which is exactly what you want.”
How do you feel after the curtain closes on a smoothly running show?
“Although things are often sad at the conclusion of any show, there is usually a great sense of accomplishment. It is nice knowing that your work made a real difference in the quality of a show.”
Can you think of a time where you made a mistake but were able to work around it?
“It was my freshman year during the variety show preview. It was De La Cru’s act, and I was on backstage sound crew, so I was making sure that all the amps had power and the mics were able to connect to the amps. Basically what happened was, it was De La Cru, and I kind of just blanked, and I left a power strip […] right in the middle of the stage for the first preview.”
How do you think being a part of stage crew will benefit you in the future?
“I think it will benefit me in the future because it gave me problem solving skills that I didn’t have before. Whether or not it is construction related or technology related or just life skills, […] I think the flexibility I have learned to have by being involved in stage crew will be useful in the future.”
Since stage crew isn’t always seen by the audience, do you think you guys are underappreciated?
“I wouldn’t say that we are underappreciated. I think that we go unnoticed. I actually think that we are appreciated a lot because there are a lot of people who really do realize what happens not on stage, but off stage to make things run smoothly. Regardless of whether or not the audience knows [of our work], it’s more for the people who are involved in the show […]. Everybody [involved in a show] sees us and knows what we do. That’s the whole magic of theatre because [the audience] is not supposed to see us.”