Behind the scenes: The crew life of ‘The Secret Garden’



Marguerite Alberts, assistant graphics editor
Set/Props Crew

To compensate for the decrease in the number of technical staff members, both crews and actors are expected to be on stage at the right cue and help set up props in between scenes.

“I think the only challenge was really managing the different things I move and being there for the cues,” freshman Isaac Spec said.

Many of the pieces of the set are movable pieces called wagons. Set crew is responsible for moving the pieces on and off stage. In “The Secret Garden,” there aren’t any breaks scenes where as most shows draw the curtains to allow scenery to be shifted. Instead, all of the scene shifts are visible to the audience’s eyes, similar to a movie. So it is crucial for the set crew to use “coms,” a headphone device, to communicate these cues throughout the musical.

Additionally, one of the unique components to this musical is the fog machine, which is used to add into the musical’s eerie tone.

 Lighting Crew

In preparation for the performance, much effort goes into making sure that all the technical aspects of the play,

including the lighting, run smoothly.

“Before the show starts, we have to hang lights, change the lamps, put in gels [colors], and different effects,” co-lighting director Allison Rishwain said.

Rishwain works alongside Dylan Lindsey to create the tone of the play through lighting. As the plays includes a cast that is largely composed of ghosts, dark lighting is used to help set an eerie tone and create shadows. One type they use is a rotating Gobo light which includes a piece of aluminum that is placed in front of a light to create different shapes and types of lighting effects.

Spotlighting is another type of lighting that is used throughout the play to highlight specific characters when they are either singing a solo or to draw attention to them while they are singing in a crowd.

“I am working the spotlight so I am in the balcony for a couple of hours,” crew member junior Elianna Scheide said. “It’s really fun being on lighting.”

 Costume Crew

IMG_3759“The Secret Garden” provided multiple challenges for costume designer Lauren Fonville and her team. According to Fonville, incorporating the 1906 time period’s style into the costumes was difficult, yet interesting.

 The crew researched about Edwardian and Victorian dresses and looked at previous performances of the musical for ideas prior to designing.

“1906 is technically in the Edwardian period but I wanted it to look a little more Victorian because the story is very Victorian,” Fonville said.

Finding costumes from the early twentieth century proved to be difficult. Most of the costumes were rented from a costume house.

“It was so hard finding costumes because there is not a lot out there from this time era,” junior crew member Ashley Beadle said.

Additionally, the team had to look at distinct fashion styles of the two settings of the musical: England and India.

Director Herb Hall provided his own mission for his crew members when he asked that the ensemble cast to be dressed in white, due to the supernatural nature of the characters.

“Not only did we have to find all of these historically accurate costumes, but they also had to be white,” Fonville said.

However, the solid white proved to be disappointing, Fonville and Beadle agreed, thus the crew had to embellish the costumes. The white dresses were decorated with trims and flowers in order to include color into the blank canvas. The incorporated colors resembled the colors used to decorate the garden by the musical’s set designer Annie Terry.

“It’s very time consuming but its so much fun when you see them on the stage, especially when you put your own spin on the clothes,” Beadle said.