The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007 23
the forces behind
ABOVE: IATSE workers assemble a
dressing room RIGHT: Randy Baker and
Dave Healy, IATSE members, lower a
curtain from the rafters.
ABOVE: David Parker, RSC production
manager, supervises construction and
fitting of the setBELOW: Jon Michelson,
IATSE member, raises different sets
above the stage with a pulley system.
The hype surrounding the Royal Shakespeare Company's stop in Ann
Arbor has mostly buzzed around Patrick Stewart. But take a closer look, and
you'll see that it takes more than the actors to put together an impressive production.
Crew members, engineers and designers for the RSC have made themselves
at home at the University, working with local stage professionals as they put
together every show, making sure that each is as perfectly dramatic as the last,
ABOVE: Tom Watts, senior stage tech-
nician, walks behind the set of "The
Tempest" during its assembly. BELOW:
A crew worker at the Power Center
arranges temporarily lowered light fix-
tures above the stage in preparation for
"The Tempest" while another member
observes in the background.
ABOVE:: Tom Watts smoothes a screen
curtain on the set of "The Tempest"
while IATSE member Jon Michelson
inspects the sets suspended in the raf-
ters. BELOW: Adam Caplen, costume
specialist for the IATSE, irons costumes
Nov. 9, 2007 - For the past three
weeks, the focus of the Ann Arbor
arts communityhas beenthe Royal
Shakespeare Company. The RSC
will have performed a total of 21
times at the Power Center by the
end of their stay.
The RSC has taken part in 140
educational seminars providing
insight into all facets of their work.
But the most concentrated and
continuous relationship has been
between the RSC and local stage
crew workers, who have spent
the past weeks changing the sets
between each of the three works
The backstage and technical
operations have been a joint force of
labor between these 12 RSC mem-
bers and IATSE Local 395, the Ann
Arbor chapter of the International
Alliance of Stage Employees.
Whereas most theater per-
formances have one set for one
stage, the RSC has brought three,
for "Antony and Cleopatra," "The
Tempest" and "Julius Caesar."
Although this allows the company
to perform a wider range of shows
on a regular basis, the operating
system is much more labor-inten-
sive than most theaters. The IATSE
and RSC members have switched
sets for each of the three works
daily. The sets, curtains, screens,
lighting, props and costumes not
only had to be changed but they
also needed to fit into the limited
space available in the Power Cen-
The gathering of eccentric per-
sonalities behind the scenes of
some of the greatest works written
in the English language has lead
to a harmonious working relation-
ship between the two groups. They
imitate accents, joke together and
explain the finesses of each others'
Company manager Richard
Clayton proudly acknowledged
that this new friendship has been
a major factor in the success of the
residency. While Shakespeare's
great tragedies and comedies are
performed on the stage at the
Power Center, the plot behind the
scenes has been the backbone of
this momentous cultural occasion.