Home Away From Home
My home for the first half of October was backstage at the Arts Bank Theatre working stage crew for our fall musical High Fidelity. My duty was to move set pieces during scene changes as quickly but invisibly as possible. For someone who is pathetically inexperienced in stage crew endeavors, a challenging but fun task was presented. After some early struggles, my frustration grew; I did not want to add to the stereotype that actors are dead weight when attempting to work behind the scenes. I used the tactic of taking a step back and memorizing the scene changes like I was memorizing lines for a role. Not only did this improve my special awareness on the stage, but it gave me a better understanding of the responsibilities of the stage manager, a tough job to have, especially for a show with as many scene changes as High Fidelity.
The stage crew ended up doing a fine enough job during the performances, and even, and dare I say surprisingly, received a shout out in a review of the show from a Philadelphia Theatre critic. The most rewarding part of the experience was gaining an understanding of how a crew operates before, during, and after a show and how hard they work. A lot of actors are ignorant to the amount of time the stage crew team puts in throughout the rehearsal process, and I am now incredibly appreciative of their effort and passion. Simply put, a show would be nothing without the guys behind scenes, and it is a shame they do not get to take a bow at the end of a performance. But I guess that would not coincide with the crew's low key, 'just get the job done' style; a mindset that I greatly respect and admire.
Andrew Block is a budding actor/writer who is currently being trained by Meisner professor Curt Whipple (‘Waiting for Lefty’). Andrew hails from the homogeneous suburbs of Philadelphia where he previously attended The Haverford School in Haverford PA. He loves films, especially Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Best in Show. A blessing and a curse, Andrew is a diehard Philadelphia sports fan, making him an instant minority amongst the UARTS populous. He also spends much of his time on the web series The Pursuit, a collegiate comedy satire with a strong penchant for American history, be sure to check it out. Andrew is the co-creator along with current tour guide Brad Ogden.