Day in the Life of a middle school musical tech


Laney Chang

The cast of “Beauty and the Beast” assembles onstage while techs set up lights for the performance.

Abigail Poag and Laney Chang


Freshman Laney Chang: Roll out of bed reluctantly after desperately flailing my arms to make the alarm shut up (unsuccessfully).

Freshman Abigail Poag: Wake up from a stress dream about missing sound cues. Glare at my alarm song for sounding too chipper.



Laney: Attempt to take notes in my classes, but in reality spend my time daydreaming and trying not to yawn because I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Abigail: Try to convince my teachers to come see “Beauty and the Beast,” subtly, of course. (By the way, “Beauty and the Beast” is Friday at 7:00.)



Laney: Eat lunch and chat with my advisory, asking them to come watch Beauty and the Beast and then help the crew strike the set afterwards.

Abigail: Practically skip over to my advisory for Advisory Lunch because Torchy’s Tacos is exactly what I need right now. Momentarily forget about all my worries now that I’m no longer hungry.



Laney: Go to the Great Hall but don’t actually eat; instead, browse the Book Fair and reminisce about all my favorite childhood books.

Abigail: Feel nostalgic after seeing all of the books I read when I was younger. Excitedly discuss/squeal about The False Prince series, which my friend and I both used to be obsessed with.



Laney: Reluctantly attend more classes and take my English quiz before realizing that I have to stay until 6:30 to tech.

Abigail: Build molecule diagrams in Bio and discuss the upcoming grammar/translation quiz in Latin. Daydream about how I’m totally going to nail all the cues in the rehearsal this afternoon.



Laney: Panic because I forgot where I put my black clothes. Oh, there they are! When did I stuff them in my dance locker?

Abigail: Feel very official putting on my stage blacks. Also feel very official for now being able to use the term “stage blacks.” Realize I don’t really know what I’m doing and feel less official.



Laney: Wait by the mics, watching the door for any people who need to put them on. Anxiously check the time because the first run-through of the show was supposed to start at 5.

Abigail: Alternate between learning how to operate the mic cue software (a lot of pushing spacebar on the laptop at the correct times) and hanging out near the mics. Decide to go upstairs to check on the Middle School students doing hair and makeup. Flashback to my days in the MS musical long, long ago (a.k.a. 1 year ago).



Laney: Drown in the thirty actors’ demands to get mics while agitatedly explaining that five techs can’t mic thirty actors at once. Hear Mr. Garmon yell at the techs to get into places, but freak out because ten people still need microphones.

Abigail: Snap out of my reflective daze when a crowd of performers all line up at once to get miched. Stop to highlight all my cues in the script before returning to help the other techs with the mics.



Laney: Ditch the mic crew to race up the narrow, steep steps up to the follow-spot booth before the show starts, which is already behind schedule.

Abigail: Put on my headset, and respond too late to confirm that I am, indeed, “in headset.”



Laney: Correctly aim the spotlight at designated targets; just at the wrong times. Oh well, that’s what rehearsals are for.

Abigail: Accidentally turn off the narrators’ mics too early in the first scene. Make a mental note that this is one job where doing something ahead of time isn’t always the right choice.



Laney: Find a way to aim the follow spot lights to hit their target every time, no matter how much the light blends in with the stage lights, by standing on a stool and lining up the bolts on top of the light with the target’s face. Nearly fall off the stool and hurt the floor with my face because I leaned too far to one side of said stool.

Abigail: Finally feel like I’m getting into the rhythm of things before almost missing a cue again.



Laney: Drown once again in the actors’ demands to take their mics off so they can change their costume.

Abigail: Watch as 30 mic cords get tangled. Try to cause the actors as little pain as possible while taking off the tape.



Laney: Stare at my planner, thinking about all the homework I need to do but don’t really feel like doing. Know that I’m procrastinating, but ultimately decide to leave the work to tomorrow afternoon following the freshman’s Day of Giving (which will be left to the following night).

Abigail: Remember that I have a large amount of homework to do. Remember that I don’t actually need to do homework tonight. Feel so lucky that musical tech week fell at such an opportune time.



Laney: Watch two episodes of “Glee” before deciding to go to bed early just because I can tonight. Then lay thinking about all the cues I missed and mistakes I made that evening and the amount of work I’ll have to do tomorrow.

Abigail: Try to get myself to go to bed since I need to be able to stay awake for the final dress rehearsal tomorrow. Finally go to sleep, now with the full Beauty and the Beast soundtrack repeating in my head.