- The hands and brains of the musical production
|PHOTOGRAPHED BY LEE KYU-YEAL|
THE PERFORMANCE of Jack the Ripper by Rothems in March still lingers in the air. People are still humming their favorite musical note, talking about the best scene, and complimenting the captivating performance of the actors. However, there is not much talk about the staff who had been working zealously backstage. The staff of Rothems consists of a producer, music director, choreographer, stage manager, costume manager, and others. Even though the crew has played a pivotal role in forming the stage, the staff members are rarely acknowledged. In order to understand the staff’s role, The Yonsei Annals interviewed three members of the crew from Jack the Ripper.
|PHOTOGRAPHED BY KO EUN-BIY|
Kim Chae-yeon (Stage Manager, Rothems)
I first started as an ordinary staff in Rothems, and now I am in charge of designing the whole stage as a stage manager. For Jack the Ripper, I prepared the scenery, backdrop, props, and other necessary equipment. I either looked for the appropriate equipment, or my team and I made it ourselves. It was not as easy as it sounds since there were many aspects to consider while preparing the musical, such as the size of the props and the members’ safety.
When planning the stage, I had to do a lot of research and look for images that matched the setting and the plot. For March’s performance, I contemplated for a long time how to best express the horror elements of the musical using the props and scenery. I wanted to emphasize the depressing and terrifying mood of the musical, so I came up with the plan to put lights and street lamps on the stage. In the beginning, I felt overly burdened because the original version of the musical has a lot of change in the stage structure during the performance. It also involves a rotating stage with various changes in the scenery. I decided to incorporate the rotating stage for Rothems’ musical. It was my first time planning a rotating stage, and I was not sure if I would be able to make it. However, I decided to take the challenge.
Even though the actors are important, there are also staff members who work hard backstage. Working in the crew is fun in various ways. And sometimes, it can be more rewarding to work behind the scenes instead of receiving the spotlight.
Jun Ye-won (Costume Manager, Rothems)
I have always been interested in the performing arts and the production process. When I first joined Rothems in my freshmen year, I did not have any previous experience in designing costumes. But I thought it would be beneficial to learn about costumes as well, so I took the position of costume manager.
My job was to plan and decide what clothes matched the characters best. For Jack the Ripper, we worked together with a club from the Dept. of Clothing & Textiles. I designed several costumes by myself, and the members of the club made the clothing that I designed. There were about ten costumes that I designed, including those of Jack, Gloria, and Polly. Even though the clothes were similar to those of the original production, I tried to focus on creating costumes that fit our own actors. For instance, in the original play, Polly’s costume is brown and it exposes a lot of her skin, but I judged that Polly’s character would be expressed better with a green dress.
I hope that the audience would notice how much effort is put in designing and choosing the characters’ costumes. A musical is incomplete without the staff’s hard work and effort. They make the performance shine brighter.
|PHOTOGRAPHED BY KO EUN-BIY|
So Soo-bin (Planning Assistant, Rothems)
In Rothems, I worked as a planning assistant. My job was special and different since I helped both the planning team and the stage team. I worked in selling tickets as part of the planning team, but I also helped making the props used in the musical. I came to school at 10 a.m. almost every day during break in order to prepare for the best performance possible. While working as a planning assistant, I was able to gain new experiences. Since I was originally part of the planning team, working in that area was not something new. However, painting and sawing the props were totally new to me.
Before I joined Rothems, I was not aware of the hard work of the staff. However, now that I am part of the crew, I wish the audience recognized how hard we worked to prepare the play. I wish they knew that we stayed up all night long to make the pamphlets that are thrown away so carelessly. When people look at our performance, they usually focus on the actors on the stage, and do not recognize the members who work rigorously behind the scenes.
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Acting, singing, and dancing are all important components of a play, but the props, scenery, lights, costumes, and the make-up also contribute in making the play perfect. There are many crew members who work diligently and rigorously in order to create the best production. Next time we see a performance, we should applaud both the actors and staff.
Ko Eun-biy firstname.lastname@example.org
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