Off the Clock: Behind the scenes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Feb 26, 2016

Rebecca Allen for MU Theatre

 When the theatre curtain rises, an audience watched a world created through a seamless blend of costumes, lights, sounds and actors. But look past what’s on stage, and you’ll find the finger prints of technicians and artisans, many of whom you’ll never directly see. KBIA’s Annie Rees went behind the scenes of the MU theatre department’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to learn about the process of putting on a play. 

“I deal with scheduling performances and rehearsals and also tracking budgets, but another part of my job is to make sure things run smoothly,” director Brad Carlson said. “Today, for instance, we’re doing a cue-to-cue where we stop and look at each cue, each lighting cue, each sound and cue.”

Hannah Atencio is the stage manager of the production.

“When there’s a light cue or there’s a sound cue, I’ll be the one to say, ‘light cue 30 go,’ and our light board operator will make sure that light is executed,” Antencio said “This is the first time that we get to see all the lights that our lighting designer has programmed and so, it’s a little bit of a circus. And it’s like the closest we’ve seen to the finished product and so for me, it’s just exhilarating.”

Costume designer Kerri Packard said the most fun part of her job is putting a character’s personality into costumes.

“For example, Claudius is Hamlet’s uncle who has killed his uncle, and so his fabrics are snakeskin and fur and velvet,” Packard said. “You know – by using those textures, that kind of helps to tell the story of the characters as well.”

Antencio said her experience with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has been special because it’s her first time as a stage manager. 

“I’ve really liked watching the characters come to life and become something more than just text on a page,” Antencio said. “So I’m really excited for the audience to have a little bit of a part of this show and kind of be pulled into the magic and interact with the characters on stage.”

When asked about the show, Carlson said that it is not ‘your typical approach to Shakespeare.’

“It is very abstract in many ways,” he said. “It’s absurdist, it’s existential.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is playing at the Rhynsburger Theatre through Sunday, Febary 28th.