The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Secret Behind the Curtain

What led to the success of WIS’ annual high school play? Possibly, more than the eye can see. On March 16th to 19th, almost half the people involved in “The Secret in the Wings” never actually appeared on stage.

The play, “was the best one in a long time” according to Ye’amlak Zegeye a WIS student of many years. “The Secret in the Wings” is a darker type of fairy tale by Mary Zimmerman. It revolves around a little girl, played by Martin Lane and her babysitter, Mr. McCarthy, who she claims is an ogre. While babysitting, Mr. McCarthy reads her several different bedtime stories, which suddenly come to life. However they end just as abruptly as they begin and quickly move to the next. The play is similar to Beauty and the Beast, since Mr. McCarthy constantly proposes to the girl, but gets rejected. With an equal amount of humour and suspense, the play kept the audience at the edge of their seats. However while watching the actors stand on stage and recite their lines, we tend to forget other backstage aspects of the play, such as the subtle change in lighting to set the mood.

Backstage is an umbrella term that includes several different technical aspects, such as lighting, sound, makeup, costume and set design. Tech is the part of backstage that deals mostly with the soundboard, mics, speakers, hanging lights up and tracing cables. With all these tasks, that help define the characters and setting, backstage work can be just as demanding as acting and learning lines. “It is actually a very laborious process that can go from lifting heavy lights to spending long times with no sunlight,” said Mr. Perkins, the technical director.Both students and teachers working on the play have confessed that, even though they love the play, it is not at all easy. The mics, sound or lighting could malfunction as they did in WIS’ High School fall musical of 2016. It also is very time consuming, “one of the main problems with tech is time, which I have none of” said Freshman, Alex Taylor. However hard work pays off and “when you finish it, even if it’s just seeing these five lights that you’ve put sweat and blood into, do their thing, it’s very satisfying” Mr Perkins said. Some people backstage, feel they should be acknowledged just as much as the actors.

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For example, Emre Tokpinar, a freshman who has acted and worked backstage said, “Those who do tech get less credit even though there is an equal amount of effort.” Tokpinar was not the only one to state that people backstage get less credit than those who act. Freshman, Rami Mottu felt the same way and said, “The people backstage are just as important as those onstage and I feel they don’t get enough credit for all their hard work”. According to Tokpinar one theory for the reason behind this was “A lot of actors don’t really know what goes on in tech and that can skew their perspective on how important tech is.”

Unlike Tokpinar, some others think credit is given quite fairly and equally. “As well as having our names on the program, the adult staff backstage such as Mrs. Zucchi and Mrs. Hill have definitely given us credit,” said Madeline Connolly, who helps with makeup and costume design.

The audience also acknowledges the people backstage. “At the end of every show you’ve got the tech crew that comes down for applause, everybody gets credit and I think that’s something that the school is really good at.,” said Alex Taylor who is working in both tech and acting this year.

However the play isn’t backstage vs the actors, the play is about cooperation, especially during opening night chaos when dealing with mic issues and last minute costume changes. The play’s success is due to everybody’s contribution and help. According to some freshmen, the play is also a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends that aren’t just from your grade.

At the end of the day when everyone takes a bow, there is a great feeling of satisfaction for all those participating in the play. After two and a half labor intensive months, the cast has each other to thank. They have learned a whole list of important skills during the play with teamwork being at the top of that list. In the words of Rami Mottu, “The role of an actor is to tell a story, the role of the backstage crew is to make sure the story is told as well as possible”


By Celeste L. Bloom

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