‘Steel Magnolias’ work studies help the show go on

Seton Hall’s Theatre Department is gearing up to put on the widely adapted play, “Steel Magnolias”, a drastic departure from the fall production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. But beyond the glamour of the stage is the hard work of the theater work studies that makes the show come to life.

From constructing the sets to the light design, the theater work studies work to build an entire world with just paint and wood. When a production is finished and the sets are painted, the lighting perfectly programmed, it might make you wonder, how much work went into creating this?

Work studies in the theater program are responsible for set construction, light design and more.
Photo via sopacnow.org

For Hannah Boyan, a junior theater and history double major, it takes a tremendous amount of time.

For weeks, the crew has worked to pull props, furniture and other pieces required for the set. As the student technical advisor, Boyan not only works backstage with the rest of the crew, but she also has the responsibility of overseeing projects and leading the crew through each production.

“I really love this position because it lets me do what I love the most – building things,” she said.

As a work study, having and gaining experience is key. Initially, Boyan had applied for the position as a freshman, but was rejected. Working on the productions all through her freshman year and gaining hands-on experience in the technical side of theater is what helped her get the job as a sophomore.

Myles Singer, a freshman business marketing major, had a similar introduction into obtaining the work study position. Having previously worked on “As You Like It” last fall, is what caught the attention of the production manager, Professor Peter Reader.

“Professor Reader had seen the work I had done backstage and offered me a work study position before opening night,” Singer said.
Singer talked about how much it has helped him gain skills working with his hands.

Where the work studies are responsible for building the set designs, Reader lays the foundation.

“Professor Reader is an essential part of the work study experience,” Boyan said. “He designs all of the sets and lights for the shows, and makes sure we have the props and materials we need.”

With a decorated resume, Reader’s technical theater experience has spanned across the country, from Broadway to the midwest. A background like Reader’s is more than helpful when pulling together a main stage production.

Stage manager of “Steel Magnolias”,a sophomore and music education major Jordan Green, expressed the same sentiments, mentioning how the professor aids the work studies in being successful.

“The work studies are extremely dedicated,” he said. “They are the unsung heroes of the theatre world, and with the help of professor Reader, the sets always look amazing when it’s time to stage each show.”

“Steel Magnolias” is set to open on Feb. 22.

Megan Beauchamp can be reached at megan.beauchamp@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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