My Town: The Elements of Theatre

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By Brielle Trussa, BEAT Reporter

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to pretend you are someone else for a day? I had that chance when I performed in the Brunswick ACT’s production of “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” The story was set in 1900, so you can imagine how fun it was to wear the clothes from that era. With the corsets, sun umbrellas, and bloomers, it was impossible not to get into your character, but there is more to running a production than just costumes and props. So what is the recipe for a fantastic show? You need dedicated actors, a talented crew, and a great director. Luckily for us, we had all three.

Let’s start with the actors. There were twenty-five cast members to be exact. You would think that with such a large cast it would be hard to get to know everyone, but that certainly was not the case here. After spending about three months with these people, you started to feel like family. Not a day went by without laughter from the cast, no matter if there was a goof-up in the scene or something funny was said backstage, and the latter happened often. Something that every one of the cast members can say has hit them at one point during a performance is nerves. They come at exactly the wrong time, and it’s hard to shake them off. Something that I always have to tell myself before a show is, don’t be nervous about performing in front of all those people. They don’t know who you are in real life, all they care about is watching your character. Once you step into character, that’s who you are for the next two to three hours. In fact, that is the fun of acting! Being able to transform into a character and be able to forget about reality, even for just a couple of hours, is what attracts many actors to the stage.

The second ingredient involved in making a great show is the crew. Without the crew, there would be no set, costumes, lighting, or props! Without those important elements, the actors would just be improvisers! In our production, we had a mountain that was used in several of the scenes, so the crew worked very hard to make it look realistic and eye catching. The lighting and sound effects are also a key element to making sure a show runs smoothly. The techies in the sound booth have to make sure that every light, sound, or effect is done at exactly the right time. They are queued to do these effects and lights from the lines that the actors say, so if the line doesn’t come, the effect doesn’t either. Another important part of the crew is costumes. As I said before, we had costumes that were set in 1900. The schoolgirls in the production had to wear bloomers, corsets, and long and ornate dresses. One of the actors in the show even had 5 costume changes! Without the imagination and determination of Siegi Treichel, we would not have had any costumes at all. She made sure that every costume for every cast member was ready to go for the dress rehearsals and all four-show nights.

The last element that is needed for a good show is a great director. Thomas Treichel directed “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” He made sure that everyone knew their lines, how to say them, and what to do while saying those lines. He was truly the best director I have ever had and I am so glad that I had the chance to work with him again. The atmosphere during the run of the show was always good, and that was because of Mr. Treichel. “A good director creates an environment, which gives the actor the encouragement to fly,” which was said by actor Kevin Bacon, really sums up what Mr. Treichel did for all of the actors. He truly encouraged us to do our best and fly. With a great director, cast, and crew, it is certain that the production will be fantastic.
The Program is sponsored by RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, and Lorain County Community College/University of Akron at Midpoint Campus.
Go to to learn more about the Program, or visit to view videos produced by the students.

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