The Man Behind The Magic
BY RACHEL SHARPE
When thoughts of theatre come to mind, one may think of dramatic actors and actresses performing exclusively on stage. At the end of every play there is a curtain call for the audience to acknowledge and applaud those talented individuals in the spotlight. Though, most people fail to recognize the backstage technicians, whose hard work often goes without admiration. Technicians are the true unsung heroes of theater; they tie up loose ends and make the show run smoothly. Over the past four years working behind the scenes of performances, shows and events, senior Shane Richardson has undoubtedly become CCHS’s unsung hero.
Since his freshman year at CCHS, Richardson has controlled all technical aspects of lighting and audio for plays, assemblies and various productions in the CCHS auditorium. Richardson works silently in the booth above the auditorium to make sure that every production comes together seamlessly.
Richardson has been a musician almost all of his life, but he first became interested specifically in play production after hearing about the performing arts program at CCHS when he was an eighth-grader at Pioneer Middle School. He was placed in Drama Teacher Angela Thomas’ Acting One class the next year. Shortly into the year, Thomas approached Richardson when a technician quit on her last minute. Although Richardson had no prior experience, he decided to give it a shot.
“The first day was overwhelming,” Richardson said. “There was so much to learn; it was hard to know where to start. But once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t difficult.”
Richardson quickly learned the ropes of technical theater by trial and error. He learned to work with a lot of equipment, including a Chorus PA System, a 24 Channel Mixer, microphones, a Light Board and much more.
“My favorite thing about technical theatre is that I can pour my creativity into a show in so many different ways.” Richardon said. “Then at the end I get to step back and watch it all come to life.”
Richardson has enhanced many productions at CCHS since that first experience. He has been on the technical crew for the past four Variety Shows. Additionally, Richardson has been a part of the Drama Club’s last 5 productions, as Light Designer, Sound Designer, Stage Manager, Technical Director and Prop and Costume Master.
It may seem like Richardson has done it all; however, his achievements go even farther beyond the walls of CCHS. His undeniable passion for music and theatre propelled him to create his own recording studio, Resonate Records, a mobile recording studio for EP’s and demo albums, which launched early this year.
“It started when a friend of mine said he wanted to start recording an album featuring different musicians from CCHS,” Richardson said. “I took the idea and ran with it. I started buying equipment and self promoting right away.”
Although still on the rise, Resonate Records has already recorded bands at CCHS, including Stick to the Plan. In order to make his recording studio a success, Richardson hired a group of promoters and a label manager who handles the talent. Along with the label manager, Richardson is responsible for booking shows, promotion and the final product itself. Richardson also has a set of additional musicians to help with solo albums for musicians that are just starting and don’t have a band of their own. Although most of the actual recording takes place in Richardson’s own house, he also has a portable system for on-site recording.
It is truly remarkable to think that on top of all Richardson’s duties, he still has time to pursue other talents as well. Although he prefers to be behind the scenes, Richardson occasionally steps into the spotlight and participates in acting competitions. In fact, Richardson received an Excellence Award at the District 13 Thespian Competition in November 2010. He also plays many instruments including bass, guitar, hand drums and other unique world instruments. Richardson is also part of a band called Medulla Oblongata, as well as other small projects.
It’s clear that Richardson is hardly short of talent and even though he’s accomplished a great deal, he is still looking ahead to the future and the specific goals and aspirations that he wishes to fulfill.
“After I graduate from CCHS, I’ll be moving to Pittsburgh to attend Point Park University to study Technical Theater with a concentration in Technical Directing,” Richardson said.
Although technicians play a less verbose role in theater, their hard work and dedication should be no less overlooked. The next time you are at a play and the curtain draws, remember the technicians behind it who silently play a large role in making your visit to the theatre enjoyable.