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The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

Stage manager reflects on new experience

Karlis Hackney shares her experiences as a first-time stage manager and looks forward to the next big show
Jubieth Chavezchora
Karlis Hackney was the stage manager for the recent play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

In early September, a play called A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed at Northwest High. Karlis Hackney, a sophomore at Northwest, was given the privilege of being stage director for this play. She reflects on her experience in theatre, the play, and shares her hopes for future productions and the theatre program as a whole.

What made you realize you want to get involved in theater?

“So when I was younger, my mom would always have theater going on. It would be like a musical theater movie, or she would listen to a theater soundtrack. As I grew up, I sort of realized that was something that was really interesting to me. When I did my first show last year, I realized it was so much fun. I loved having to work with so many people who did so many different things. It was very interesting, very intricate, and there was a really good turnout. So, yeah, I love the ending result of a full show after working for a couple months.”

What is your role in theater?

“It kind of depends. If I’m acting, then I get whatever acting role that they give me. And then I haven’t really done a lot of outside of acting. I’ve done stage manager a couple times. But I’m also really interested in costumes and lights and set, like building the set, and other stuff. It’s kind of like whatever you want to do, really, and they’ll find something for you to do.”

What was it like working with the cast in the beginning of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

“It was really fun. We casted in May last year so they had to know their lines at the beginning of this school year. When we started, a lot of them were memorized. All we had to do was go over lines and then start blocking, which is like where they move on the stage and just the actions you do when you’re on stage. It was very fun because a lot of people knew what they were doing, and they knew what they needed to be doing. For the other half of them, a lot of them were new actors, and it was really fun to see them grow into the actors that they knew they could be, and I thought they could be because a lot of people were really scared to start off with. By the end of the show, they were very, very good and very confident in themselves.”

You say that they grew, how would you compare their beginning performance to how they were at the end?

“So something I noticed in a lot of people is that when they’re off stage and they’re being themselves, they’re very likable and very confident, right? So then when they get on stage, they just take that away, and they’re very monotone and they’re not as full and confident as they were when they’re off stage. And so, by the end of the show, you can see how they took

themselves and put it into their role and make it, like I said, full and confident. It’s like, I know I’ve done this a lot to where, like, I’m not as like ‘silly’ when I’m on stage, but it’s just a lot of growing and becoming more confident yourself.”

What would you say was the best part about managing the play?

“I think maybe the responsibility because being a stage manager isn’t really a role that sophomores get and so getting that responsibility was a really good feeling and good thing for me.”

What would you say was most difficult about managing since you’re a sophomore?

“So Mr. Wehry was gone a couple times and I had to manage by myself a cast of, like, 20 people, which is not that much but it’s still pretty big. And then, obviously, having to write down the blocking and everything for every single scene. It’s just a lot of organization and being stern. I’m not a very stern person, like I’m not going to get on you for little things, but you kind of have to do that when you’re stage manager.”

Do you have any funny stories from rehearsals or anything else?

“Not from rehearsals, but I know during one of the shows, when Donavan who played Demetrius, when he ran offstage, the choir bleachers are right there. And when he was running underneath the bridge and offstage, he almost hit his head on the bleachers. It was really scary, but it’s really funny at the same time, and you can laugh because it was a performance. So it was, it was crazy. Yeah.”

Was that the first night?

“Um, I think so. Because like after every night, we’d be really scared about what was going to happen.”

What have you learned from your experience in managing that play?

“So you kind of learn a lot of what happens behind the scenes because when you’re acting, you’re really only thinking about what you need to be doing. When you’re stage manager, you have to make sure that people on stage are doing their job, people backstage are doing their job, and people up in the booth are doing their job. It’s kind of overlooking everything. I learned a lot about how things happen, or how they work behind the scenes, which was a really fun experience I would want to do again because it was so much fun.”

*Would you manage again for Into the Woods?

“Not Into the Woods, they already have a stage manager for that. And I will never ever, ever do stage manager for a musical because it is a much bigger job than I can handle. But maybe for another play, and I’m in rep theatre, and they have the 1 acts every year, so maybe I’ll stage manager or direct a show for that.”

What are your hopes for the next school play?

“For Into the Woods, I want to get in. Our play this year is student directed by Hayden Munro, and honestly, I’d love to stage manage that but also, I’d love to be in that as well. But I think that we started off the school year really, really well. We had a really good project just starting the year. So I think as the school year goes on, it’ll just get better and better. We’ll have better and better turnouts, and we’ll have better productions. And then hopefully by my senior year, it’ll be a great program that is very organized and bigger than it is now. I don’t know, because my freshman year it was still good, but I think by my senior it could be really good. Like, way better.”

Is there anything in particular you’re excited or curious about?

“For Into the Woods, I’m really excited about the set and music because Stephen Sondheim is a musical genius. I’m really, really excited for Into the Woods because I think that even if I don’t get in, it’ll be so much fun to watch because has such a good set and music.”

So you’re excited for the set and the music, does that mean you have background knowledge of the play?

“Yes, so I’ve seen the movie a million times and I listened to the soundtrack. It’s not that big of background knowledge, but I think that this is a really, really big production. Especially for high school because the music and the set and the lights and the sounds, it’s really intricate and it’s really complicated. And so, for doing it for high school, we have really high hopes, right? I think we will reach [the audience], hopefully, but I know it’s going to be good because we have amazing singers here and we have amazing set builders and I’m really excited for how it turns out.”

What is it like managing to be an ECA student and then also being really involved with theatre?

“It’s kind of like you really have to plan out your things, because I’m also in an AP class, which is a lot of homework. It’s easy work, but it’s a lot. And so then having all that homework, plus all my other homework from other classes, and then making sure that I’m able to get up on time for ECA, and then making sure that I’m able to like stay after school for rehearsals, and then also on top of being here for a long time, making sure I can get all my homework done, and making sure that I do a good job on my homework. And also, I’m in orchestra so I have to practice my violin. And then there’s a lot of stuff that I still want to do, I still hope to do throughout the school year, but I think this is good for now. It’s a pretty good schedule, but a lot of it is just making sure that you communicate with people to make sure that you know what you’re doing and then the days that you can be there. Also communicating with my mom because my mom has to drive me everywhere. So, it’s a lot of communication and organization.”

What would you say is the best part about theater as a whole?

“I think the people because it’s a lot of people who feel the same way about theater as you do. And so, surrounding yourself with people that are good for you is this really good thing. And

also, people who share your same passion for anything related is just a really good thing. It’s fun, and literally there’s never been a time where I haven’t had fun at rehearsal. It’s so much fun and I think everyone should join just once.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“Um, don’t hate on theater kids, I’ll fight you.”

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