Revere tech works behind the scene

Many children look up to the actors on stage, feeling the desire to perform and grow up to be just as glorious as their idols. The same cannot be said for junior Jacob Hermann, who at a very young age, did not look with wonder upon the actors but instead gazed behind the audience to the auditorium’s tech booth, thinking that he wanted to be a part of that. 

From early morning arrivals to mid-day runs up to the spotlights and late-night lightboard practice, the students who run the tech booth put in daily time and effort to keep Revere High School up and running. They are the backbone of every play, musical and even the recent Variety Show, running lights and sound on their boards from the back of the auditorium or up in the spotlights. 

Every year, Dr. Darren Lebeau, the auditorium director, holds three to four workshops after school, teaching prospective tech workers how to operate the delicate machinery. They learn important terminology and locations in the auditorium and then spend a day or two understanding the lights. 

“We kind of do an overview, and then they get a little quiz. If you pass the quiz, you get the option to either…be a Revere Players tech, where it’s an unpaid job… and then there’s the people who want to work all year, who want to work the concerts, and the lectures and all that, and they do get paid an hourly wage,” Lebeau said. 

In the end, Dr. Lebeau needs around eight technicians to operate the musicals, and four or five people collaborate for the rest of the year to run concerts, recitals and any other event at Revere that requires technical assistance.

Hermann now holds the position of Head Soundboard Technician, setting up microphones and working for the best sound quality every time he is behind the tech desk. 

“It’s very unique compared to most jobs,” Hermann said.

The technicians work more hours than is required of them to make the best shows they can with what they have been given. Sometimes, that means sacrificing other aspects of their lives to make everything work together.

“I spend most of my time in [the tech booth], free time-wise,” Hermann said.

Losing free time to work unpaid sounds unappealing to the average person, but for Revere’s year-round tech workers, that is their reality every day. 

“It can be tricky with scheduling between [tech] and my other job,” Hermann said. 

Even though they lose valuable free time to their work, the students still enjoy working in the auditorium. Sophomore Annabelle Steiner is Revere’s resident Head Lightboard Technician who wasn’t sure she wanted to be in tech when she first moved to the Revere district during her freshman year. Now, she has thoroughly changed her position.

“I love the community that we build,” Steiner said. 

All people who work tech know each other very well, but that type of relationship extends beyond the confines of the desk at the back of the auditorium. 

“I’ve become really close with a lot of people just in Players and theatre in general. It’s a really nice group of people,” Steiner said. 

However, even though the program has many benefits, leaders have more responsibilities just like any other group, sometimes creating extra stress.

“It’s difficult sometimes because you have to take responsibility if something gets messed up, especially for me because I’m in charge of both myself and the lights and also both of the spotlights,” Steiner said. 

Some people, like Hermann and Steiner, work any event that requires auditorium use all year long. Others have the option of choosing to just be members of Revere Players, putting their skills to use during the limited yet stressful weeks surrounding the plays, musicals and Variety Show. 

“The nice thing about tech is that it’s the least demanding of the theatre world, even though we still put in a lot of work. It’s not super difficult, [but] it’s tough during those few weeks,” Steiner said. 

Hermann and Steiner have found that their biggest problems stem from the equipment–challenging them with technical difficulty and episodes of breaking down. 

“My least favorite part [of tech] has to be the frustration of not having the proper equipment or the funding to fix things when they break…Tech has turned into my personal life because our auditorium needs a lot of work,” Hermann said.

The breakage, Hermann believes, stems from the original construction of this two-and-a-half-year-old building. 

“I have … put my own personal money into getting items for tech,” Hermann said. 

However, their biggest and most consistent challenge is not the bells and whistles of expensive, high-tech boards, but the tech desk itself. It is not a lockable booth with doors and walls to keep students and guests away from the equipment, as most auditoriums have. 

“It’s very difficult during shows and performances because we’re in the middle of the audience, and we have no ability to talk to each other, and I think we’d be very distracting,” Steiner said. 

In such a large, open space that students and community members use so often, many students have near-unrestricted access to the sound and lightboards, making it increasingly difficult to keep the equipment safe. 

“People can start messing with our equipment without me being here. I don’t like that we don’t have any way to lock anything up,” Hermann said.

However, despite the difficulties of the auditorium, Hermann and Steiner make the most of what they have. 

“The equipment we’ve got now is so far over what we need in the auditorium; it’s severely high-tech–both the light system and the sound. Luckily, I have techs who like to dig into that the last few years, and they like to research it and figure it out. They have been a godsend,” Lebeau said. 

Despite technical difficulties, the students running the tech booth have fixed many problems, including the hearing assistance for hard-of-hearing auditorium guests. Now, Hermann is living the life his younger self only dreamed of–constantly learning and experimenting with some of the most high-tech equipment a school can offer. 


Click HERE for more Lantern coverage on Revere Players.