What Goes on Before the Show: The Reporters’ Club Goes Backstage at Westside Story

By The Reporters’ Club: Iris B., Noam B., Luisa D., Beatriz F., Liv H., Eleni K., Radik K., Olivia M., Margot P., Leon P., Marie S., Chloe S., Heidi S., Inez W., Yanxi Z.

On October 18th, the Reporters’ Club visited on stage and backstage before the ASW production of Westside Story.

The stage crew hard at work on Westside Story sets. Photo by Ms. Bechdoldt

The first thing we saw as we entered the theatre were signs made to look like gang graffiti. The graffiti talked about the two gangs in the show: the Sharks and the Jets. 

Michaela L. and Ms. Kasia showed us around the stage, and Michaela showed how she organises the flybars to moves sets up and down.  The stage had big sets that looked like brick walls. Some of the sets looked like buildings, to make it look like a town.

Backstage it was a bit messy. It is very dark back there during the show, but the stage crew has glow-in-the-dark tape to see their props. Some of their props were knives, brushes, cards, scissors, and a dress.

Behind the stage we saw a workroom and a make-up room. In the workroom we saw how they make sets without technology like 3-D printers, just with things like glue and cardboard.

We interviewed Caleb Y. and Cole W., members of the stage crew to learn what they do. They explained that the stage crew builds all the sets before the show and moves them around during the show. Caleb said he secretly moves things when the play is on when the stage manager tells him to through a walking talkie. Cole explained how the person with the walkie talkie is in full control of what happens backstage during the show.

According to Deirdre L., another member of the stage crew, the backstage team takes about 2 hours to get ready for each show. Dierdre said moving things around on stage is her favourite part of being in the stage crew.

According to Marissa D., the crew practices every Tuesday and Thursday in the month or month-and-a-half before the show, but this week they practiced every day.

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