Tech week – Who’s Responsible?

As part of my university course, the first year students have to take on technical production roles for a variety of theatre and film projects that are being held at the beginning of June. This means that many of my coursemates have been plotting lights, calling shows, and creating various books and prompts for their productions as part of fairly large technical teams.
I, on the other hand, am part of a four-person ‘technical’ team in charge of film Installations – four film students present ideas and designs, and we make these happen in a studio. Easy enough, one would think. However, in my role of Technical Stage Manager, I’ve found that in the end the majority of the work has fallen into my lap. I am not adverse to hard work, not at all, and I enjoy getting involved and making things work. I understand that in such a small team, I’ve had to do a lot of the legwork in the run up to now, our tech week.

However, here is where my frustration really begins. It is our get in week – so we have a few days to install all the designer’s pieces into the studio space. Due to exams and assessments, one member of the team is unavailable, leaving just three of us to sort out rather large screens, flats, and projectors. Of course, during the fitting of each design, the relative student is there to help – but we thought it’d be a good use of our time and theirs if all the designers mucked in and helped out. Surely this is not unreasonable? Apparently, it is. We were told that we could not ask the film students in every day to help.

This made me wonder – who’s responsible during the tech week? Of course, had we a larger team, it’d make sense for the designers to sit back and not worry. But as we are so short-handed, and these students have no other modules at this time, it’d be more efficient to utilise them (especially as two are males and as an all-female technical team, we really do lack a degree of strength). This, accompanied with fairly unprofessional Production Managers, has placed me in a position in which I run the entire project almost entirely myself. The experience has been fantastic, and the satisfaction of fixing two broken projectors without any professional training is, of course, incredibly gratifying.

Maybe I’m just tired, stressed, and venting my anger through my well-practiced form of writing. Or maybe there is a real problem relating to the way this project has been run, and my  ‘acceptance’ of responsibility – it’s either I do it, or it doesn’t get done. But it still stands to questioning, who should step up to the plate, those in the correct positions, or those who are dedicated to providing a completed show?

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