Because good actors make it look so effortless, it’s easy to forget just how much hard work acting really is. But the polished and natural feel of an actor’s performance often represents years of training and onstage experience.
An actor’s performance is enhanced by:
• an ability to put personal skills like imagination, emotional honesty and empathy at the service of a creative process
• an ability to focus and listen
• vocal training for greater power, expressiveness and clarity
• physical training stressing general fitness, flexibility and grace
• insight into the psychology of human behavior
• a ready understanding of and love for language
• high-level reading, research and text-analysis skills
Other performance skills an actor develops can increase the range of roles for which he or she may be considered. These include singing, dancing and playing a musical instrument; fencing/stage combat and physical theatre skills; circus skills like clowning, acrobatics and juggling; commedia dell’ arte and mask techniques; and training in improvisation.
Theatre training is available through college, university, conservatory, and studio programs. Conservatories typically offer intensive training over several years. Colleges and universities offer programs varying from less to more intensive, depending upon other courses required to complete a degree. Studios offer ongoing courses that may be short or long term, and participants opt in or out depending on their needs.
While there is no agreement on the one right way to train actors, many working in theatre today have been exposed to the great Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938) and his ideas about how to build a character. Many actor-training programs are still founded on his basic theories, which in the U.S. led to the development of what's called "the method."
While not all actors, directors, or teachers subscribe to his ideas, many are useful to consider:
• Given circumstances—all the facts in the script that are not open to interpretation such as plot, historical period, the basic personalities of the characters and the social conditions in which they live.
• The “magic if”—a way an actor can stimulate his or her imagination by asking “How would I behave if I really was this character in this situation?”
• Motivation—the underlying reason for a character’s behavior
• Subtext —the deeper meaning in the spoken lines that reflects the inner life of the character.
• Objective—the goal towards which a character is working in a scene; the specific outcome of an event the character would like to see.
• Obstacle—something that stands in the way of a character’s achieving his or her objective.
Concentration—an actor’s ability to focus his or her attention completely.
Are you interested in acting? You can start now on what could be a life-long journey.
• Go and see as many plays as you can
• Check out the theatre arts/drama class or your school drama club
• If you're in school, join the school improvisation team
• Audition for a local community theatre
• Volunteer to do backstage work for a local community theatre and observe rehearsals when possible
• Check the yellow pages for theatre/drama classes. Many theatres, both professional and amateur, offer acting courses
• Read plays!
The work of the director is central to the production of a play. The director has the challenging task of bringing together the many complex pieces of a production—the script, actors, set, costuming, lighting and sound and music—into a unified whole. To accomplish this task, a director needs to:
• Interpret the script
• Cast the production
• Collaborate with designers
• Plan the rehearsals
• Guide the actors in their work during rehearsals.
The director’s work is most often based on a detailed study and analysis of the script to be produced. Many careful readings of the script help the director develop an individual vision of the playwright’s intentions, which will form the core of his or her interpretation. This sense of “what the play is really about” will shape a director’s thinking about every other aspect of the production.
Directors also study the characters in the script, gathering as much information as they can about their physical and psychological traits. This is vital preparation for casting, when the actors who are best able to bring the characters to life in performance need to be chosen.
The director’s initial meetings with the set, costume, lighting and sound designers typify the creative collaboration vital to theatre. Any notes the director has made on the technical needs in the script are shared with the designers. The free flow of ideas that takes place here will further refine the director’s vision of the production as a whole.
Details in the script about the specific locale(s) in which the action takes place need to be attended to early in the production process, because they will determine both the basic requirements of the set and the possible movement of the actors on stage. Acting areas, entrances and exits, and furniture and props called for in the script or desired by the director will need to be a part of the set design.
The floor plan can then be sketched out. The floor plan is a basic outline drawing of the stage setting as it would look from above. It is an essential rehearsal planning tool because it allows a director to work out the blocking of the play. Blocking (or staging) is the precise moment-by-moment movement and grouping of actors on stage.
The director’s creative collaboration continues during his or her work with the actors in rehearsals. The actors will bring their own interpretations to the project and perhaps inspire the director to rethink his or her interpretation. They will work closely together to breathe life into the lines and develop a deeper understanding of the characters’ motivations and relationships, fleshing out the subtext of the play. Later the focus of the director’s work in rehearsals will broaden to the overall look and feel of the whole production as transitions between scenes are smoothed out, effective pacing is achieved and all the design and technical aspects of the production are integrated.
Once the show opens, the director's work is essentially complete. Now it's the stage manager's job to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the director intended time after time, until the production closes.
Stage managers typically provide practical and organizational support to the director, actors, designers, stage crew and technicians throughout the production process.
The role of the stage manager is especially important to the director in rehearsals. Here the director and the stage manager work side by side, with the stage manager recording the director's decisions about blocking and notes for the actors, keeping track of logistical and scheduling details and communicating what goes on in rehearsals to the rest of the team. This enables the director to concentrate his or her full attention on directing.
Stage managers have several key responsibilities and tasks to perform in each phase of a production, including
• scheduling and running rehearsals
• communicating the director's wishes to designers and crafts people
• coordinating the work of the stage crew
• calling cues and possibly actors' entrances during performance
• overseeing the entire show each time it is performed
In conjunction with the director, the stage manager determines the scheduling of all rehearsals and makes sure everyone involved is notified of rehearsal times, meetings, costume/wig fittings and coaching sessions. During the rehearsal phase, stage managers also
• mark out the dimensions of the set on the floor of the rehearsal hall
• make sure rehearsal props and furnishings are available for the actors
attend all rehearsals
• notify the designers and crafts people of changes made in rehearsal
In rehearsals the stage manager also records all blocking, plus all the light, sound and set change cues, in a master copy of the script called the prompt book. The information in the prompt book also allows the stage manager to run the technical rehearsals, calling each technical cue in turn to determine precisely how it needs to be timed to coordinate with the onstage action.
The stage manager and the technical director also work out a smooth and efficient plan for the stage crew to follow during set changes. Furniture and prop plans for complicated sets are drawn up by the stage manager and technical designer to show exactly where the furniture and props are to be positioned on stage at the beginning of each scene and sometimes in the wings.
Once the show opens, the director's work is essentially complete. Now it's the stage manager's job to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the director intended time after time, until the production closes.
Many of these duties fall to the Director at Theatre 29, but having a staff member who is adept at these skills would be a very good idea.
The Production Manager generally is responsible for budgeting, scheduling work, and coordinating the various production departments. The Production Manager is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the production are completed within budget, according to the designer's and director's wishes, and in time for the first public performance. He or she oversees the cost effectiveness and planning of the entire production process.
Responsibilities may include any or all of the following:
• Securing the rights to present the play from the royalty house or publisher-agent.
• Deciding date, time and venue
• Forming a production team
• Production meetings
• Scheduling rehearsals and performances
• Setting the rehearsal venue
• First call
• Rehearsal process and preparation
• Financial accounting of the show's expenses and revenues
Having found the property and bought the rights, the producer starts by putting together a production budget--the cost of finding and rehearsing the creative team, cast and orchestra; designing and making the scenery costumes and props, installing them all in a theatre; and marketing the results.
He will then decide on the capitalization of the project--that is, the production budget plus a contingency fund to sustain the show until it is on its feet. In some theatres, he also determines how many weeks it will take to recover the production costs at varying levels of business.
However, the single most important responsibility (after securing the rights to the production) is the development of a highly motivated and collaborative production team, which includes all those in charge of the various areas of the production--director, set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, musical director, publicist, choreographer, technical director, stage manager, etc.
Finally, it's a good idea to be familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the other key players in mounting a production.
The Technical Director has the daily responsibility for the technical operations of a theatre or performing arts center, including lighting, sound, set design and construction, and coordinating necessary maintenance. TDs work with a great deal of independence and exercise independent judgment in performing a wide variety of duties. Because of the operating hours of most facilities, close supervision is not normally required nor expected.
In general, a TD :
• Determines the necessary technical supports, such as lighting, sound, staging, and special needs, necessary for events and performances presented at the facility in advance of production dates.
• Designs, sets up, maintains, and operates lighting and sound systems for theater, dance, music, and other productions and projects; assists guest designers and arts with technical matters.
• Designs, supervises and assists with set and stage construction and management.
• Oversees stage crews and volunteer staff.
• Orients facility renters and visiting productions to safety, technical characteristics and other areas of facility operations; facilitates the use of the technical facilities by the resident company and others engaged by or renting the facility.
• Monitors the condition of equipment including lighting, sound, and rigging equipment; arranges for the repair and replacement within budgetary constraints; performs preventive maintenance on equipment.
• Assists with the preparation and control of production budgets; maintains inventory and orders specialized supplies.
Because a TD may be called upon to deal with a wide range of technical issues, he or she benefits from a working knowledge of techniques, methods and procedures of theater, dance, and music productions and presentations including stage, set, sound and lighting design and implementation; stage management; computerized lighting systems; stage carpentry; appropriate safety precautions and procedures.
Theatres also look for an ability to analyze and evaluate the need for technical support for various events and performances; plan, develop, schedule and provide the technical supports required for each event or performance; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; design and construct sets; design lighting and sound systems appropriate to each performance or oversee stage crews and volunteers; perform minor repairs and preventative maintenance on equipment; maintain inventory of necessary supplies; assist in budget preparation; establish and maintain effective working relationships with representatives of various groups, vendors, co-workers , and others; maintain irregular and extended working hours; able to lift, push or pull objects up to 100 pounds using appropriate tools.
In a professional company, a TD holds a Bachelor's degree in technical theater arts, dance, music, communications or related field from an accredited college or university and can demonstrate responsible work experience in the technical aspects of theater, dance and music production. In community theatre, any person with the aptitude and background can serve such a capacity.
All the scenery, furniture and props the audience sees at a production of a play make up the set design. The set designer's job is to design these physical surroundings in which the action will take place. The overall look of the set also gives the audience information about the director's concept of the production.
The set should:
• suggest the style and tone of the whole production
• create mood and atmosphere
• give clues as to the specific time and place of the action
• offer creative possibilities for the movement and grouping of the actors
The set may also need to be designed so the backstage areas used by the actors and stage crew are kept out of sight from the audience. This will depend on the effect the director wants to create with the staging and on the type of stage the production uses.
All the things appearing on the stage other than the scenery are called stage properties, or props. Set props like furniture, draperies and decorations are the types of things that complete the set and they need to be part of the set design.
The set designer will normally read the script many times, both to get a feel for the flavor and spirit of the script and to list its specific requirements for scenery, furnishings and props. The time of day, location, season, historical period and any set changes called for in the script are noted. The set designer's focus here is on figuring out everything that may be needed based on the dialogue in the script. Stage directions tend to be ignored at this point in the process.
The set designer will meet with the director and the design team (set, costume, lighting and sound designers), to discuss the details of the set and the director's interpretation of the play. The set, costume and lighting designers also meet and work together to ensure the creation of a unified look and feel for the production. A lively exchange of initial ideas and first impressions helps clarify the steps that each person needs to take in this intensely collaborative process.
Set designers use several tools to communicate their ideas to the director and the other designers. These include:
• a rough sketch of the set in the preliminary phase
• floor plans drawn to scale showing from above the general layout of each set and the placement of the furniture and large props
• front elevations giving a view of the elements of the set from the front and showing details like windows or platforms
• miniature three-dimensional models showing how each set will look when finished.
These visual aids help to ensure that all the theatre artists involved in the production understand each other.
Once the show opens, the designer's work is essentially complete. Now it's normally the job of the stage manager and backstage crew to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the designer intended, time after time, until the production closes.
Lighting designers know how to make the best use of the subtle and powerful medium of light, creating effects that can be changed at will to match the mood of the action.
At its most basic, stage lighting functions to make the actors and their environs visible to the audience. But it can also be used to:
• Evoke the appropriate mood
• Indicate time of day and location
• Shift emphasis from one stage area to another
• Reinforce the style of the production
• Make objects on stage appear flat or three dimensional
• Blend the visual elements on stage into a unified whole
The Designer's work
The lighting designer begins by reading the script to be produced noting the type of light it calls for in each scene. Designer and director share their ideas about how light could be used to enhance the production concept at their first meeting. Early meetings with the set designer are also important because the set and lighting designers must collaborate on how to achieve the desired "look" for the play. The plan for the set may influence the placement and direction of the necessary lighting instruments, so flagging any potential problems in this area as early as possible makes sense.
Lighting designers attend rehearsals to get a feel for the lighting cues and to plan how to light the actors as they move from place to place on stage. When the blocking is set, the lighting designer can start to work out which lighting instruments will be used and where each one will be located.
The planning tools lighting designers use include:
• Paintings and photos showing the mood and style of specific lighting techniques and are gathered through research
• A lighting plot: a scale drawing of the stage and set as seen from above showing the planned layout of each lighting fixture to be used
• A vertical section plot: a cross-section of the stage and set drawn to scale showing the vertical sightlines and the height and position of each instrument
• An instrument schedule: a chart that lists each lighting instrument separately along with the details of its type, wattage, purpose, filter color, the dimmer it will be plugged into and the ciruit that will control it
• A cue sheet: a complete list of the various lighting effects the designer has planned for the show and when they occur
Lighting designers usually combine both direct and indirect light to illuminate the actors and objects on stage. Direct lighting comes from a definite location and illuminates specific areas; indirect lighting washes over the entire area to be lit and doesn't appear to come from any one specific location.
The amount of light needed to clearly illuminate an object on stage depends on the object's:
• Reflective properties
• Contrast with its surroundings
• Distance from the person looking at it.
There are four properties lighting designers can control to create a vast array of effects:
• Intensity. The brightness of light. Everything in the range from the faintest dim glow to the most blinding glare can be created with stage lighting. Contrast has a great impact on how bright a light will appear to be to the audience, with a single flashlight on an otherwise dark stage appearing to be bright, while a strong spotlight shining on an already brightly lit stage may appear dim.
• Color. The color an object on stage appears to be is determined both by its actual hue and by the colour of the light that illuminates it. Filters or gels on lighting instruments make it possible for designers to tint stage lighting in colors that flatter the actors' faces, cast a warm glow over an entire set or heighten the colors of scenery and costumes.
• Distribution. Light can be distributed in different ways on stage. The form of light may vary from a soft unfocused glow to a sharply defined beam that casts dramatic shadows. The beam of light from an instrument may be directed through a piece of metal called a gobo that shapes it into a pattern such as the broken effect of light coming through the leaves of tress. Light may also be directed at an object from any angle, giving rise to an infinite variety of light and shadow combinations, each with a different look and feel.
• Movement. The intensity, color and distribution of light can be noticeably altered as quickly or slowly as the lighting designer and director deem fit while the play is being performed. For example, a scene that starts in the diffuse and rosy light of dawn can end in the brilliant golden beams of full morning light. This capacity for change over time is called the movement of light. It offers a kind of flexible expressiveness that is unmatched by any of the other visual elements of production.
The lighting designer will meet with the director and the design team (set, costume, lighting and sound designers), to discuss the details of the set and the director's interpretation of the play. The set, costume and lighting designers also meet and work together to ensure the creation of a unified look and feel for the production. A lively exchange of initial ideas and first impressions helps clarify the steps that each person needs to take in this intensely collaborative process.
• Once the show opens, the designer's work is essentially complete. Now it's normally the job of the stage manager and light crew to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the designer intended, time after time, until the production closes.
In addition to the sounds of the words spoken by the actors, a play may also call for sound effects to recreate lifelike noises or use music or abstract and unidentifiable sounds to support the drama. The sound designer plans and provides the sound effects in the play. The composer writes any original music the show may require. All the music and/or effects in a play considered as a whole make up the "soundscape."
The designer's work
Sound designers and composers begin their work by studying the script, gathering as much information as they can about any sound or music it calls for. As in all other aspects of design, an early meeting with the director and the design team is essential to get a clear understanding of the production concept.
Some directors will already have very clear ideas about what the sound effects and/or music should sound like, while others may request that the sound designer/composer sit in on rehearsals to assist with developing effects and music to fit the specific contexts in which they will be used. Once they have a precise sense of what the production needs out of the music or sound, the composer begins composing the necessary musical pieces and the sound designer begins to gather and create the necessary sounds.
Sounds and music in the theatre can
• motivate actions onstage and indicate events taking place offstage
• establish the time of day, season and weather
• locate the action in a specific place
• create mood and changes in mood
• stimulate audience expectations of what is to come
• provide information about the characters
• build transitions between scenes
• offer shortcuts that rapidly advance the plot or recall past events
The designer or composer combines and varies the five controllable properties of sound to create unique effects or music required by the production of the play.
The controllable properties of sound are:
• Pitch - the wavelength or frequency of the sound
• Volume - the loudness or quietness of the sound
• Quality - how pitch and volume combine to give each sound its own distinctive effect
• Direction - the location of the sound in space and how sound travels from one location to another
• Duration - the length of time the sound lasts
Planning tools of sound designers and composers
• Plot: A list of all the music and sound cues for each act/scene. It indicates where the sound or music occurs, the page number of the script where it appears, precisely when it begins and ends, and the equipment that will be used to produce it.
• System layout: A system layout shows the type and location of speakers on stage, on the set and in the auditorium. The system layout may also include a layout of how all of the sound equipment will be interconnected.
• Cue sheet: A version of the sound plot to be used by the sound technicians who will run the equipment during the performance.
Sound and music cues are often dependent on the precise timing of the onstage action and can only be set after the play's blocking has been determined. Ideally, the director, cast and crew will have several opportunities to fine tune the timing of the completed music/sound design during technical rehearsals.
The sound designer will meet with the director and the design team (set, costume, lighting and sound designers), to discuss the details of the set and the director's interpretation of the play. The set, costume and lighting designers also meet and work together to ensure the creation of a unified look and feel for the production. A lively exchange of initial ideas and first impressions helps clarify the steps that each person needs to take in this intensely collaborative process.
Once the show opens, the designer's work is essentially complete. Now it's normally the job of the stage manager and sound crew to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the designer intended, time after time, until the production closes.
Costume designers create the look of each character by designing clothes and accessories the actors will wear in performance. Depending on their style and complexity, costumes may be made, bought, revamped out of existing stock or rented. Their designs need to faithfully reflect the personalities of the characters in the script.
The shapes, colors and textures that a costume designer chooses make an immediate and powerful visual statement to the audience. Creative collaboration among the costume designer, the director and the set and lighting designers ensures that the costumes are smoothly integrated into the production as a whole.
Stage costumes can provide audiences with information about a character's occupation, social status, gender, age, sense of style and tendencies towards conformity or individualism. As well, costumes can:
• reinforce the mood and style of the production
• distinguish between major and minor characters
• suggest relationships between characters
• change an actor's appearance
• suggest changes in character development and age
• be objects of beauty in their own right.
Costume designs also need to include any accessories such as canes, hats, gloves, shoes, jewelry or masks. These costume props add a great deal of visual interest to the overall costume design. They are often the items that truly distinguish one character from another.
The designer's work
Costume designers begin their work by reading the script to be produced. If the production is set in a specific historical era, the fashions of this period will need to be researched. To stimulate the flow of ideas at the first meeting with the director and the design team (set, costume, lighting and sound designers), the costume designer may want to present a few rough costume sketches. This is also an appropriate time to check with the director on the exact number of characters needing costumes, as any non-speaking characters the director plans to include may not have been listed in the script.
It is the costume designer's responsibility to draw up the costume plot. The costume plot is a list or chart that shows which characters appear in each scene, what they are wearing and their overall movement throughout the play. This helps track the specific costume needs of every character. It can also identify any potential costume challenges, such as very quick changes between scenes.
When the director and production team have approved the costume designer's preliminary sketches, she or he can draw up the final costume designs. The final designs are done in full color. They show the style, silhouette, textures, accessories and unique features of each costume.
Once the show opens, the designer's work is essentially complete. Now it's normally the job of a wardrobe assistant to make sure that every aspect of the production runs just as the designer intended, time after time, until the production closes.
This work involves managing or assisting in promoting the productions, services and public image of the theatre company. This role is difficult to define, since in many theatre companies the responsibilities listed below are given to more than one person.
For example, a company may have one person in charge of marketing, to whom is given the responsibility of the season brochure and advertising, while publicity about individual shows (including ads and contacting print and electronic media with story suggestions, news releases, and calendar information) is handled by a publicist.
Because of the differences in duties from company to company, it's important to understand the various aspects of marketing.
Most people think that marketing is only about the advertising and/or selling of productions or services. Actually, these are near the tail-end of the marketing process.
In general, marketing activities are all those associated with identifying the particular wants and needs of a target market of customers, and then going about satisfying those customers better than the competitors. (In the case of theatre, the competition could be TV, school activities, golf, movies, the Internet or video games, as well as other theatre companies.)
This involves doing market research on customers, analyzing their needs, and then making strategic decisions about which productions to offer (individually or as a season), ticket pricing, and promotion.
Publications may include an in-house newsletter, a patron newsletter (sometimes these two are combined), a season brochure, and brochures about the company and its services (such as educational programs, youth theatre, etc.). In some companies, the season brochure is the responsibility of the marketing person, while the newsletter or brochures are handled by the publicity or public relations person. In other companies, one person handles all these tasks.
As opposed to advertising, public relations seeks to gain awareness and positive image for a company and its offerings without an exchange of money. And, while PR usually entails the use of publicity and media relations (below), it takes a much broader view than simply promoting a particular production or service. Most small theatre companies have a publicity person, whose job is to heighten awareness of individual productions, in order to sell as many tickets as possible. A larger company would have a PR or promotions person who works closely with the marketing manager (in some cases, marketing and PR are handled by the same person), so that information about individual productions is not only consistent, but meshes with the overall image the company wishes to project.
The publicity person is most often tasked with promoting of specific productions, events or services, and normally serves as the contact person for all media inquiries.
Advertising means paying someone to bring your productions or services to the attention of potential and current customers through materials you create yourself or pay to have designed— advertisements in newspapers or on television or radio; signs; direct mailings; or e-mail messages.
Depending on how your company divides up the above areas of responsibilities, you may be asked to do one or more of the following:
• Research the attitudes and opinions of the public as relates to the company and its offerings.
• Using this research, help shape the company season in partnership with the artistic director or other person(s) responsible for choosing individual shows or an entire season.
• Write, edit and produce newsletters, brochures, direct marketing pieces and other printed material.
• Create and determine publicity/press relations plan to generate continued greater awareness for the company and support any overall marketing initiatives.
• Assist marketing director by serving as another spokesperson within the arts community as needed.
• Develop communication objectives and communication plans
• Identify the most important audiences, and decide what to communicate to them and the best media to use
• Examine the media for issues that affect the company
• Write and implement communication or promotional plans
• Cultivate and maintain media contacts in order to generate relevant stories, interviews and other media coverage for the company.
• Solicit, arrange and organize media interviews (print, radio and TV) for general stories about the company
• Work with other organizations and provide information to them.
• Organize and/or promote promotional events and conferences
• Keep staff and patrons up to date with company news.
• Write news releases, articles, calendar listings, and public service announcements (PSA's), ensuring consistency and accuracy.
• Distribute news releases to media
• Field and respond to media inquiries generated by those releases, or regarding a specific production or event.
• Provide the public with information when it is requested
• Solicit, arrange and organize media interviews (print, radio and TV) for productions or about the company in general.
• Coordinate and oversee photo sessions for public relations and marketing purposes.
• Coordinate handling of reviewers, including contacting them, securing comp tickets, and compiling press packets.
• Oversee the archiving of all press clippings, video clips, radio tapes and photo library.
• Responsible for design and/or placement of ads
Maintain and update the company's website, or work closely with the person who does this.
Assistant Directors are the Director’s “right arm”. They assist, not only in the development and vision of the production, but also act as a liaison between Director and cast, as well as a facilitator with other members of the production team, so that the Director’s focus can be the creation of the production
Choreographers design and direct the dance or stylized movement in musical productions, working closely with the director and musical director.
Most productions use a properties master to deal with the large number of small items that a play needs. In larger shows, there may also be a props designer who decides what the props should look like and how they will function, in coordination with the director and set designers.
Often needed in larger productions, the ASM is often stationed just offstage to facilitate communication between the stage manager (who is out in the house) and actors, as well as ensuring safety. The ASM often helps with complex set changes, quick changes offstage, or preparing the stage for performance.
The crew chief is intended to take the burden of finding a scheduling staff off of the TD and master carpenter's shoulders. The CC will find determine with the master carpenter what the build schedule is, and how many carpenters will be needed on any particular day (and then make sure that they show up).
The master carpenter's job takes the working drawings from the TD, and using them, builds the set. After a quick glance at the working drawings, the MC should be able to schedule the build, order lumber, and then just pass that information on to the crew chief and TD, who make sure that the carpenters are there at the appropriate times. In many theatres, these duties having been absorbed into the TD position. If your show can come up with a master carpenter, use them wisely!
The ME is responsible for taking the lighting plot and making sure that all lighting units on the plot are hung in the correct locations and actually work. Coordinating the numbers of lights and circuits and allocating cabling, gels, and other accessories are the most important aspects of this role. In many theatres, the light designer often ends up sharing many of the typical ME roles, so the job gets done by both.
The sound engineer must take the sound design and ensure that it can be created in a given space. This involves selecting equipment to reproduce the various sound elements required, installing and testing it, and usually running the actual show.
A highly sought skill in most theatres, the MP is responsible for painting set elements under the direction of the set designer, but often the Master Painter has the freedom to choose many of the design elements him/herself.
When sets need to be built or lights hung, shows need carpenters and electricians to do the grunt work of sawing, hammering, lifting, hanging. In many companies, no experience is necessary to serve in one of these roles as you will be taught on the job. Often, actors serve in these roles when they aren't needed in rehearsal.