There are unending factors contributing to the success of any theatrical mainstage production. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, written by Christopher Durang and chosen as the fall 2016 mainstage production here at Wheaton, is no exception. As Stage Manager Alivia Cross ’19 revealed, “The week before the show we do a ten-to-ten, so 10 a.m.-10 p.m. in the theater, working the show, going over it… doing runs.” The schedule is demanding and everyone plays an important part.
Cross, in particular, gained experience working on the technical side of productions throughout high school and, recently, at Wheaton. In the Spring semester of last year, Cross served as Assistant Stage Manager for The Servant of Two Masters.
Now in the full Stage Manager position, it is Cross who calls the shots in terms of lights, sound, and set changes. Cross is taking on a whole host of new responsibilities including working with the director to set up rehearsal schedules, serving as Acting Director—if ever necessary, and sending out rehearsal reports to the Designer and Technical Director, among other tasks.
In the midst of the craziness, Cross still finds a reason to remember why she loves what she does. “My favorite part is probably when people go to watch a show. There’s so much spectacle and ‘wow factor,’ I guess I am going to call it. When you work on tech and you have worked on the set and worked with the lights and know the conscious effort that goes into that, and seeing that all come together during dress rehearsal and opening night… that’s my favorite part.”
Cross said that it is too early to tell what technical obstacles will arise, as the production is only in its earliest stages. Of the production at large, Cross said, “I think one challenge is with the script itself… there are a lot of references to get across.” Though not directly related to tech, Cross’s observation pays homage to the spirit of productions as a whole. Productions are collaborative efforts as no one part can succeed without the other. Both seen and unseen, all roles are important.