Everything’s Just Peachy In Theatre

Katherine Mozisek, Staff Writer

On opening night, the backstage is bursting with nerves and excitement. The actors run their lines under their breath while the props crew is checking that all the props are in order on the table. The student directors check that their mics work and everything is accounted for. As the PAC  fills with people, the audience is unaware just how many things are going on at once to make James and The Giant Peach come to life.

“My part in James And the Giant speech is Aunt Sponge, who’s very abusive, but I find my role funny because I’m not a woman and I get drag makeup,” said sophomore Zach Herman.

When people think about theatre they usually think about actors and actresses, but in TTC, Tompkins Theatre Company, actors do not just act. When they are not getting in costume, doing complicated dance numbers and running lines, they also help with making props and testing lights and sound. On days that actors practice their skills they warm up with a small work out then get to work practicing lines and cues.

“Makeup often serves as a symbol for the characters, they can represent emotion and development, and use color theory to show the symbolism, “ said junior Kyndahl Wiseman.

Makeup and costumes are a staple in every show so that the actors can portray their characters and so that the audience can see the actor’s face. Every costume piece has to fit the performer perfectly to lessen the chance of a wardrobe malfunction. The costume designers create costumes that they can easily find materials to make. The make up crew highlights the eyes, mouth and other features to help the audience see the facial expressions of the character.

“I’m in ensemble, so I get to work with the puppets a lot. I also do a lot of behind the scenes work to help build the putters, especially the giant shadow puppets,”said sophomore Arthi Bavijuru.

Behind the scenes of James and the Giant Peach are the students running the show. They are the ones making props, changing the lighting and following the cues of the actors to play music. For James and the Giant Peach, there is an additional crew to make and design puppets. The set crew builds all of the backgrounds, which include a giant peach big enough to hold a family and bring the story to life.

“I am the sound crew head, so I have the lucky job to get the sound effects and microphones and prepare them for use,” said senior Ryan Welch.

With James and the Giant Peach more students can try their hand at managing their peers, directing lights and sound and choreographing dance moves.

“I’m an audience member, but I predict that the result of all the hard work will end up as a very well produced show that is top tier,”said sophomore Mary Katherine Schmidt.

Every student that works in James and The Giant Peach stays late after school and sacrifices time to study for the show. Their goal is to make opening night magical for all who come to see the show, and to spread the love of live theater after years of people getting sick and missing shows due to covid. For everyone in Tompkins Theatre Company the show will always go on.