January 25, 2020

Tech provides a chance to learn behind the scenes

The new tech elective, taught by faculty member Brian McManimon, focuses on students self-driven independent projects. (Photo by Rachel Landau '16)

Many students are aware of the long audition process required for the musical. They hear about the lengthy, daily rehearsals and strenuous performances. But few are aware of the what goes on behind the scenes, a process meticulously controlled by the many students involved in tech.

This year, the Performing Arts department introduced a new intensive course for students proficient in stage design and technology.  Mr. Brian McManimon teaches the class, which is offered for honors credit. He is well known among the student body for his vast understanding of the many pursuits within tech.

Since McManimon arrived at the high school two years ago, the number of students involved in tech has skyrocketed from twelve to sixty. He said he attributes the recent growth and success of the department to the ongoing dedication to the performing arts, as well as hard work.  

“I push these kids to perform at a level beyond what is asked of high school students,” said McManimon.  

According to McManimon, the new course offerings in the Tech department, particularly the intensive class, give students a chance to further their involvement with the program, experiment with hypothetical paper assignments unburdened by the school budget, and learn about new fields in stage technology, such as projection design.  

Mukul Kudlugi ’16, one of three intensive students this year, has been pleased with the intensive class so far. Kudlugi noted the plethora of independent projects available for the students in his class. He said he admires the opportunities for students to individualize the curriculum.

“You can go into that class and say, ‘Well, I want to learn about this, this, and this’, and then you can do those exact projects that are based on what you want to learn,” Kudlugi said.

In this way, the intensive course reflects the growing diversity of skills in the department. Students gain leadership in areas of theatre technology unavailable to the students who are not enrolled in the course. One student is designing and preparing nearly thirty costumes for one musical number. Another is creating a soundscape based on Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting, “The Starry Night”.

“This class allows the students to continue growing as theatre artists, and as people, and as artists in general,” McManimon said. “This is a great reflection of where I hope this department is going—that we have interdisciplinary artists ready to work with us.”

(Rachel Landau ’16, Photo Editor)

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