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Faces of Baylor: A Tech Crew Perspective
Janie Pippenger

This week I sat down to talk about tech crew with Karina Quinn '21, who told me that their main goal is to “do this so that you all won’t notice.” But, let’s start with the basics.

The tech crew are all juniors and consists of Quinn, the lead sound designer; and Barry Yang and Catherine Bryant, the lead light designers. For the production of Pride and Prejudice, Kye Hamilton, Zoe Hardnett, and Chloe Wang also helped with the tech crew.

Quinn joined her freshman year after coming to Baylor. She had been involved in theater at her former school in Milan, Italy, but once at Baylor wanted to work behind the scenes. (An interesting side note:  Quinn was born in Virginia, and has lived in China, England, Switzerland, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Italy, and then back to Tennessee.)

Under the direction of Baylor's technical director Garrett Walsh, Yang, Bryant and Quinn help put together most of the productions at Baylor. In preparation for Pride and Prejudice, Quinn listened to hours of 17th century music, searching for the perfect sound for the play. Apart from that she also edits the music.

Most of the dance scenes were not the perfect length of the music chosen for it, so Quinn has to edit the music to seamlessly repeat until the dancing is complete. She also has to find the highest quality of the sound and download it onto the program in order to use it in the productions. She is also in charge of microphones worn during the productions. She makes sure to manage everyone’s mic, volume, and turn the correct ones on and off. 

One cool thing that tech did during the play this year was placing a speaker in the piano, because the piano was a prop made of wood and had no real keys, they still wanted it to sound like the piano was actually being played. So, they put a speaker inside the piano with an old microphone so that when they played the music, it sounded like it was actually coming from the instrument (because it technically was). Another cool project that Quinn helped with was having rain animation in the background during the dance scene. The rain animation was created and downloaded by Quinn. 

Tech crew is year round with practices from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. most days, but closer to the end of the show it can go as late as 6:30 p.m. and sometimes meets on the weekend. During production there is typically a sound person, light person, and stage manager in the booth. There are also two stage managers backstage. One of Quinn’s favorite projects to work on was Bye Bye Birdie because of the sound and music as well as the colorful set, which she now has a part of hanging in her room. She also loved working on the Governor's Inspector as the head stage manager. This play was her first time being head stage manager and it went smoothly, despite one of the performances being interrupted by a fire alarm in mid-performance. Apparently, the fire alarm was triggered by a box fan that was blowing up dust, and the entire theater had to be completely evacuated- twice! 

Tech crew is a special little group in Baylor community. Quinn says there is never a dull moment and they are constantly meeting and getting to work with interesting new people. From searching for and editing the music to creating the effects of the lights with the performances, they work together to create the productions that we all love. This recent production of Pride and Prejudice ended on a Sunday. The next day, the giant set had to be taken completely down. The lights were removed and then re-hung in new places for Tuesday, when dance mats were put in place and tech crew was given just one hour to have the music downloaded into the programs with the lights ready for the dancers’ dress rehearsal. Tuesday they had the first half of the run-throughs, with the second half on Wednesday. The performance was on Thursday and then the entire stage was cleared once again on Friday. Whew!  if you see anyone in tech crew, make sure to tell them thank you and good job, because without them we wouldn’t have any of the performances that makes Baylor arts what it is. 

NOTE:  Apart from tech, much of the crew splits their roles during the winter: robotics for Quinn and Bryant, and soccer for Yang. However, they still need more recruits because they are all juniors and need to pass their skills on to other people. The shop especially needs helpers, normally about 15 people help build the set, but this year there were only five people. If you have any interest in joining the crew, please email Garrett Walsh at gwalsh@baylorschool.org

 

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