Backstage and Centerstage Magic


This November, the Livermore High School drama department will be performing “Puffs,” a wacky performance inspired by Harry Potter where friends from the house of badgers work together to save the wizarding world.


While LHS lacks classes in spell casting and trickery, magic does not run short. A theater production requires time, dedication, practice, and a little sorcery to bring life to a stage. The students that work together on the productions know just how much work, time, and creativity it takes to cast a spell on the audience. 

While on the stage, one can imagine themselves in an actor’s shoes before and during a performance.

Dylan Sanchez (10), has participated in a number of productions at LHS including “Our Town,” “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” and “State Fair.” He believes strongly that the hardest part of being in a production as an actor is, “Probably staying with your lines.” He went on to say that others may find it easier but he stated, “It’s hard for me.” Sanchez is used to the hard work and dedication that a production requires and he emphasized that participating in a show takes a lot of commitment.

Another student with much experience in drama is Athena McPeake (11). She has acted  in “Civil War Christmas,” “Urinetown,” “Our Town,” “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” and, “State Fair.” 


McPeake finds that the hardest part of acting it, “definitely making character choices. “


Being experienced actors, Sanchez and McPeake have adapted to the theater scene however, drama productions are open to any student with any level of experience. Some of these students have little to no experience in what it takes to create a production.


 Amira Sain (9), is excited to perform for the first time in a large theater production. She gave her thoughts on what the hardest part for her has been as of now.


After asking what influenced her to audition, Sain said, “I have always wanted to act, I’ve always wanted to do drama, so this is the first chance I got.” Being new to the scene, Sain says that the hardest part of the process so far is, “I think really getting into character because my character, Megan, has some really interesting relationships, especially with her mom so, like, personifying that is… interesting.” 


However, even though she is inexperienced in the high school drama production scene, Sain is not completely out of her element, having participated in small school plays in the past.  She is grateful for the support of Hovey, LHS’s drama teacher, and the support of the other performers. With these individuals standing by her side, she feels better but still has some concerns for herself. Sain fears since she is a person with “a tendency to laugh,” that she may “…laugh backstage and then not be able to stop laughing when I get my cue to go on stage.” She also mentions that finding time to do her homework is a challenge because of rehearsal times. Sain said the arduous amount of work can lead to students working for hours. 


Rehearsals are held nearly every day after school, with Wednesday rehearsals lasting until 4 pm and other days of the week lasting until 4:45 or 5 pm. 


Actors are not the only individuals who have to work for months leading up to a performance so production can run without a hitch. There are several individuals who work behind the curtain to make sure that a production can run smoothly. There are typically twelve tech crew members involved in production and all members have important responsibilities.

Off to the side of the stage, one can some of the elements that go into making a production run smoothly.

A student who worked on tech for “State Fair” last year, Michael Rasmussen (10), explained that the process of preparing the stage, lighting, sound, and other elements for a production are very time-consuming. Students can choose one of four workdays where their work is done from 10 am to 5 pm on a weekend. During that time, both actors and tech workers get together to work on those elements.


Katrina Watts (10), will be part of the tech crew for her second year in high school. Watts has done work on  “The Brothers Grimm Speculation” and “State Fair.” In both productions, she worked on sound. Watts will work on sound once more for “Puffs.”


 Tech crew members working on sound are responsible for getting the actors ready with microphones and dealing with sound effects. 


Another tech crew member, Katherine Watts (10), has done stage crew in the past along with sound. She will be working on sound for “Puffs.” Watts found that sound was a lot harder for her because, “you have to handle all the body mics, you got to chase people down and make sure they turn in their body mics, and that they’re wearing them properly.” 


Tech week is a busy week for all tech crew and cast members. They all get together every day and practice the entirety of a production complete with stagecraft, sound effects, microphones, costumes, and lights.


All members of the cast and tech crew put much effort into their crafts. Come this November, so their hard work and dedication can be seen when “Puffs” is performed.