The Harbinger Online

Lighting the Way to Theater


The saw whirs up again, and the shouting gets louder. Theater teacher Tom DeFeo, sophomore Molly Terlouw and freshman Blake Peery are trying to set up a lights board down by the rows of seats, as opposed to the booth up top so they can run through the show and observe from a better angle. Debating about the correct placement of the white fold-up table, they still have a lot of work to do. The first night of this year’s play Cinderella is in only 26 days, and even though it’s the Saturday of a four-day weekend, Peery and the crew are working behind the scenes.

Peery, or “Potato” as the crew calls him because of the drama class nickname “Bossy Potato,” is the only freshman assistant crew chief. He joined tech crew at the start of the school year after hearing about it in drama.

“I wasn’t going to act, so I thought I might as well try [tech crew],” Peery said.

He hasn’t looked back since.

Although originally interested in sound crew, Peery tried working with lights one day and found out that it suited him better. Plus it’s the people that make him love it. Long rehearsals and workdays are made better and aren’t so dull when he’s joking with “Swag,” or senior Leah O’Connor, Terlouw, the whole crew. But Peery and his head crew chief Terlouw still have important tasks to do.

The pair design the lights sequence for the entire show. With DeFeo’s occasional help, Terlouw and Peery determine the majority of the lighting, from color to position. Their trusty light board is how they control everything – the levers and buttons maneuver the lights on and off, up and down.

In the beginning, Peery found his assigned tasks easy. But slowly, as Terlouw saw his abilities, the jobs became more intricate. He worked on his skills, and then applied for the position for Cinderella, equipped with experience and a recommendation from the chief. And now he’s assistant crew chief.

I realized that [Peery] would be more capable of [difficult tasks] once I taught him all the basics and he knew what I was saying,” Terlouw said. “Now you can use terminology and he’ll know what to do.”

Peery’s glad he joined the lights crew. He never would have made the friends he did if he didn’t.

“Working with [Peery] has been a ride. He’s just a ball of fun,” Terlouw said. “He had said he was going to do sound but he stayed with lights because he fell in love with it.”

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