Photo courtesy of Union College Mountebanks 

When the curtain is drawn, the spotlight is beamed and the first note of the pit is played, no one is thinking about who is doing those tasks, they are thinking about the cast on stage ready to tell a story; and that’s how it should be.

The Union College Mountebanks, considered “the nation’s oldest student-run theater group,”  just debuted their spring production, “Godspell” the musical.

The director, stage manager, set designer, lighting crew, choreographer and costume design team are all jobs that are seemingly overlooked. But, when asked about the credit they lack yet undoubtedly deserve, the consensus remained, “If we’re doing our job right, we shouldn’t get attention.”

The humble nature of the behind-the-scenes team is undeniable, and their camaraderie, contagious. Despite their exhaustion, working almost every hour of the day not spent in class, every single crew member held high spirits, shared inside jokes and recalled funny stories that, above all, gave insight to their bond.

Carly Ristaino ’20, director, set designer and choreographer, spoke on what makes her smile when working with the crew. “My favorite part of my job is getting to spend time with all the different people involved in the show…I think directing the show would have been really daunting if I hadn’t had such an amazing group of people to work with.”  

Restaino continued to speak on the relationship between the goal of the show and their personal goals as a crew. “The biggest thing that we’re trying to convey with this show is a message of community. I hope that the audience can see that the story is reflective of how the cast, crew, and production team came together to create this show.”

Sound director, Jay Livernois ’22, talked about his experience from a first-year perspective. “[They are] very nice, very funny, very energetic people.” Livernois, being new to the club, already feels welcomed and needed.

Putting on a collegiate production of this caliber takes a lot of hard work and planning. Production manager, Alex Appel ’21, said all the blood, sweat and tears is all worth it. “Seeing the show is rewarding…it’s a high…it’s beautiful like a rose; it’s pretty but has thorns and can make you bleed.” This statement got some laughs from the rest of the crew as Appel then dramatically peered out into the darkness through the window and continued, “Being a part of this is worth all the stress, all the work, all the sunlight.”

The crew remained in high spirits as they geared up for another chance to show the community their technological and cooperative talents. Even though they may not get individual bows and standing ovations before the curtains close, they work hard so that it all goes well.

“You shouldn’t see me strobing in the middle of ‘Day by Day,’” Lyda Hursh ’21, costume director, tech director and lighting director, said, emphasizing the crew really only covets positive recognition from one another.  

The humor of the whole backstage squad radiates. As they were taking down the stage after rehearsal, young men and women lugged giant amps through tiny corridors of the rehearsal room, tied up in lights and sound chords, all with smiles on their faces.