Technicians set the scene for upcoming musical ‘Sister Act’


Emma Bohmann

Senior and Sound/Crew chief, Michael Pruski, Stage Manager Ava Frasher, and Costume Crew Head Sammie Langford.

Emma Bohmann, Writer

When people think of the drama department, they often think of actors and actresses performing on stage. They typically think of singing, dancing and acting but they would miss a big part of the drama department’s population: the technicians.

As for our drama department’s current production, Sister Act, opening January 26, there are tons of talented, hardworking technicians who make up at least half of the company. This includes sophomore and Costume Crew Chief Sammie Langford, sophomore and head stage manager Ava Frasher, and senior and Sound Crew Chief Michael Pruski. 

Pruski has gained a lot from his final musical at Klein Collins as Sound Crew Chief. Something that stands out is the progress his crew has made that he not only witnessed but also has influenced.

“I would say that my very favorite part is watching others explore a completely new discipline,” Pruski said. “In this case, it’s watching my assistant and my intern do that.”

Sister Act will be Frasher’s first musical as head stage manager, which means a wide range of tasks and people to coordinate. Between technicians and a large number of actors, she is driven at each rehearsal to give the best she can toward the responsibility of keeping everyone productive and equally active.

“I think just knowing that people are counting on me, having that weight on my shoulders,” Frasher said. “I think that is my main motivation, knowing that other people rely on me.”

Langford and Frasher are both experiencing their first musical as crew heads, and this is Pruski’s second musical as the sound head. All three have acting experience under their belts, but the world of acting and technical theater are very contrasting.

“When you’re an actor, all those moments that you communicate with an audience as an actor sort of shows you you’re doing your job right,” Pruski said. “When I am behind the audience in the sound booth, there is no indication from the audience that they’re enjoying what I’m doing. And when they clap, they’re not clapping for me.”

Being an actor and being a technician also greatly differ in terms of the range of responsibilities. Langford has found that being in charge of your own lines and character is a very different workload than being in charge of every costume piece in an entire production.

“When you’re acting, you only really have to worry about yourself and how you’re doing personally,” Langford said. “In costumes, you have to make every single person’s costume and deal with every single person and figure out what’s best for each individual.”

One similarity between acting and technical theater is creating a unique take on every element of a production so that no two productions of the same show are identical. One of Langford’s biggest focuses has been creating her own take on the costumes of Sister Act.

“We’re really trying to do more flashy costumes to make them really stand out,” Langford said. “A lot of them have bright colors and sparkles, and we have a lot of bell bottoms, and just things that catch the audience’s eye.”

Although the varying commitments that come with being a crew head in a musical can become overwhelming, the unique experiences and lessons learned make it entirely worth it for these technicians.

“There’s a certain fulfillment that comes from doing theater, whether acting or not,” Pruski said. “Seeing that being created and being a part of that creation, night after night, there’s a satisfaction that cannot be replicated.”