Happy Chinese New Year! Last week was one of the most stressful and yet most rewarding weeks of my sophomore year. This is my second year on stage crew for the Lunar New Year Festival, a performance put on every year to both celebrate the Lunar New Year and to raise money for charity. LNYF combines a variety of performances from different Asian countries, with everything from Korean Fan to Philippine Tinikling to Chinese Lion Dance.
Because I have absolutely no coordination and am completely out of shape, LNYF dances were mostly out of the question for me. Stage crew was my chance to be both on stage and hidden off stage, a role perfect for me. Because I had done this last year, I felt a bit more prepared for the chaos this time around.
What I was not anticipating was the sheer increase in the number of props this year. Stage crew barely had enough hands to carry all the tables and chairs on stage, and we had only about 5 days to coordinate and practice the whole show compared to the semester the rest of the dances had. In fact, one of my fellow crew members ended up creating a google doc with an incredibly detailed script of every task, and if you sat at just the right angle during the show, you would have been able to see all of us on our phones checking this script.
Despite our initial stumbles, being part of LNYF here has still been one of my best experiences in college. Stage crew formed such a tight-knit group by the end of the show (of course, this was also helped by the fact that a few of us were friends beforehand). We danced backstage along to onstage music, created an entire list of inside jokes, and panicked together at tech malfunctions during the show. I got to look very official wearing my own headset!
I think my favorite part of being stage crew is how close I became with all the other members and how I get to watch every dance multiple times. Edison Theatre is incredibly cool to watch backstage, and listening over headset to the stage manager communicate with lighting/tech crew was fascinating. I’m also proud to say that LNYF sold out all three shows this year and put on one of our best performances!
My only regret is that being backstage means that I can’t take any good pictures because the lighting is either too dark or too bright. Being stage crew has been so rewarding, and I hope to continue this personal tradition of mine next year.