Two freshmen will be taking on spots as crew chiefs in this year’s fall play, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
“Everybody applies on their own, and I just look at either their experience or personality,” said Technical Director Tom Defeo. “Leadership, whether or not they’re willing to be around or be available, and to know what they’re doing. I simply take risks.”
The role of a crew chief is to take charge of a certain area, such as makeup and lights.
Freshman Mia Vaught is the assistant crew chief in sound. She controls the microphones, music and sound effects of the show. She’s used to acting onstage; she’s never been on crew before.
“It’s kind of hard to take over a leadership role,” said Vaught. “It’s different. Usually you can tell [other people] what to do and they’ll do it.”
Freshman Molly Terlouw has no trouble putting upperclassmen in their place. She raises her voice above the unruly kids.
“I wasn’t honestly surprised [to have gotten crew chief] because I’ve been in theatre for years, working backstage and on stages,” said Terlouw.
She’s the assistant crew chief for lights. She does them for The Church of the Resurrection, which has six different church services and its own internet channel. She also works lights for other schools and has stage managed shows at Tomahawk Elementary and The Culture House in Olathe.
“It’s a big freshman class, a lot who are very much into theatre. A lot of them have experience in theatre. They’re excited, I’m excited,” said Defeo. “My expectations for [Vaught and Terlouw] are to follow along, and to take what they already know and trust that they know.”
Both girls hope to take part in future productions. Terlouw hopes to act in the winter musical Little Shop of Horrors. Vaught doesn’t have a specific idea of what she sees herself doing in the future.
Both Vaught and Terlouw are excited to take part in their first production at Shawnee Mission East, even though they won’t be in the spotlight.
“With acting you get the whole cast-feel,” said Terlouw. “But with crew you feel like you’re putting the show together on a whole separate level.”