The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Stagecraft Student Feature: Rachel Kathryn Le

“Stagecraft is the class where I can be the most creative because they offer so many opportunities like designing and programming. Just being able to see how everyone comes together to work on a full production inspires me.”

Behind the curtains of every performance at Arcadia High School (AHS) is a crew of Stagecraft students who made it possible. Stagecraft is where creativity meets craftsmanship, resulting in the creation of beautiful environments for actors to perform in. Sophomore Rachel Kathryn Le is a passionate student who has been in the program for two years, transitioning from Beginning to Advanced Stagecraft while fulfilling her role as a follow spot.

There are two levels of Stagecraft at AHS, Beginning and Advanced. Different elements of scene production are exposed to Beginning Stagecraft students, who then go on to Advanced Stagecraft with a specific field that they would like to focus on.

Le’s journey into the world of Stagecraft began as a curious freshman who wanted to explore and delve deeper into how productions came to life.

“I was interested to see the behind-the-scenes of plays and the process of how people work and design these shows, and how the final product turns out,” said Le.

The field that Le chose is the lighting crew, where she specifically handles spotlighting.

“I have to be up on the catwalk,” said Le.

A catwalk is a narrow metal walkway positioned above the stage and audience, where lights are hung and controlled throughout the shows.

Having finished the Beginning Stagecraft class, Le has valuable experience when it comes to designing lights and working it. A few theatre productions that Le has helped with are Grease and Cinderella, where Le was assigned people to follow with her spotlight.

“I would say Cinderella was my favorite project because I got to spotlight with a very good friend of mine. We basically just sang along the whole time.”

When asked how the experience impacted her skills and knowledge, Le said, “Especially since Grease was my first show, I was able to see what goes on behind the scenes of big productions like that. I also practiced my spotlighting, and then I got to practice my aiming.”

A responsibility that comes with being in Advanced Stagecraft is the requirement to stay behind until 10 p.m. during tech week.

“I listen to the lighting designer, and she tells me what she wants the set to look like. We have to be on comms [headset communications] at all times and up on the catwalk at all times.”

Recently as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has just come to a close, Le had been hard at work during class time as well.

“We have been setting up all the lights and wiring all the lights, connecting them, coiling cables”, described Le.

When asked about a project that challenged Le’s skill and creativity as a stagecraft student, Le shared her experience in helping with One-Act performances while she was in Beginning Stagecraft.

“Designing the One-Act was pretty challenging because they left it all up to us with our design… it was our first time without the teachers guiding us. We had to make sure that everything was ready for the show. I worked with people and we designed our scene and I had to learn when my cues were. During the show, I actually got to control the lights and operate the lightboard.”

Le shares the importance of collaboration in the class, where she works with others to bring a production to life.

“As a follow spot, I work with my partner and I work with the lighting designer to make sure that people have light on their faces and we can see them.”

When asked about a fun memory that Le had in the class, she said, “Grease and Cinderella were really fun because I was up there for like six hours just hanging out with my partner.”

Le thinks that the most rewarding part of being a Stagecraft student is “seeing the process and how the shows go from basically nothing on the stage to being a full-on production, seeing how good the actors are, and how all of our hard work just comes together.”

A piece of advice that Le gives to students who are pursuing Stagecraft is to “try to find your passion and stick to one crew so you can be the most knowledgeable and then use your creativity to design projects, be a good team player, and have good time management. Remember that your imagination is the limit.”

Le also shared a saying that Stagecraft teachers always say, “Early is on time, on time is late, and if you’re late you’re fired.”

Stagecraft has played an important part in Le’s life by giving her a place to be creative, where she can work with those who are also passionate about the technical aspects of a production.

“Stagecraft is the class where I can be the most creative because they offer so many opportunities like designing and programming. Just being able to see how everyone comes together to work on a full production inspires me,” she voiced.

As the school year continues and new shows come to life, it is all thanks to Le and all of the Stagecraft students working backstage who add magic to productions at the AHS Performing Arts Center. The collaboration between Arcadia Stage and Stagecraft students result in performances that will take away the breath of many audience members.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Chen

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    PeterNov 28, 2023 at 6:32 AM

    So proud of my niece!