With a 1960s theme, this year’s Grasshopper Night promises to be an evening of high-energy talent and humor. While the performers on stage are crucial to the show, the 12 students working backstage to coordinate everything from lighting to sound and set design are just as critical. Here’s a peek at the behind-the-scenes roles of Grasshopper.
This year, Erica Nork ’16 will be fulfilling the role of stage manager of Grasshopper. Her job is to oversee the technical aspects of the show and ensure that the shows run smoothly. Janet Conklin ’17 and Emma Kaufmann-Laduc ’17 will assist Nork by relaying information and changes from her to the performers and stagehands backstage.
Nork said, “My job entails sitting inside the lighting booth with a headset on and telling people when to turn on the lights, when to turn on the sound, when to send the next act on and when to bring the curtains up. It is like I’m the puppet master, just making sure everything happens in time.”
**Music, Dance and
Offering suggestions and constructive feedback, Janice Cheon ’16, Lizzie McGonagle ’16 and Foster Conklin ’16 work closely with the performers in the roles of music, dance and acting directors, respectively. Cheon focuses on the musical technicalities of each act, ranging from pitch issues to staying in sync with the other performers. McGonagle assists the performers with choreography and staging, especially in regards to working around the “Hairspray” set. Conklin offers assistance mainly to the emcees, Cam Mesinger ’16 and Tessa Jarden ’16, to help them create entertaining skits.
Diva Harsoor ’18 and Gerardo Segura ’18 are stagehands for this year’s show. The majority of their job occurs backstage, where they ensure that props and set pieces are in the correct location before every act.
Harsoor said, “It’s a fun group of people to work with, and you get to see everything as it happens. You get to watch all the performances a few times, and it’s always a really relaxed environment until the last few days before the show… [The process] is very slow but very deliberate.”
**Light Board Operator and
Noah Halloran ’16 and Sam Cohen ’16 are the two light board operators for Grasshopper Night. They worked closely with each act to create personalized lighting settings.
Perched on the third floor balcony, the spotlight operators, Celia Egler ’19 and Sasha Carnes ’19, manually operate the spotlights so that they follow the correct performer across the stage.
Kieto Mahaniah ’16 fills the position of technical director this year. Being technical director requires keeping track of all the technical elements necessary in the performance including lighting, microphones and stage setup. In addition, the technical director must ensure that all the technical needs of a performance are known and feasible.
Mahaniah said, “I like the technical area because I have always enjoyed getting [performances] to the next level, because I don’t consider myself a great dancer or a great singer… but I really find my ability, my skill, my talent in helping other people get to the next level.”
Alex Hagler ’16 has the role of projections operator in this year’s show. Whenever an act needs a projection, Hagler is the one to manipulate it and ensure a smooth coordination between the computer and the projectors. Hagler will also function as an extra hand for anything else the team may need, having been a part of the tech crew of Grasshopper before.
“I like the feeling of being a cog in the machine, either directing that machine or doing a small part to make this thing happen… It’s really cool to be backstage during the show and see from a different perspective all the hard work that the actors put in and also to be able to interact with the set, the props and everything else that the audience doesn’t see,” said Hagler.
The sound operator, Andrew Stern ’19, is in charge of the microphones in the performance. For every act, he checks that each performer and instrument is properly equipped with the correct microphone. Furthermore, he coordinates closely with Perez, the sound board operator, to turn the microphones on and off at the correct points in the show.
Sound Designer and
Sound Board Operator
As Grasshopper relies so heavily on sound, the sound designer and sound board operator are especially important roles. This year, Theodore Perez ’16 is taking on the job. He programs and controls every musical cue including the timing of sound effects, the volume of music and whether microphones need to be powered on or off.