Months of preparation will culminate on stage this weekend with the presentation of "Spirit of '67," the V-Show. But what the audience will see is only half of the show itself--the cast performing on stage. The backbone of the show, the work done by the production staff and crews is often overlooked by the audience.
The first big problem in producing V-Show was selecting an appropriate theme. "Tune In," the theme for this year's V-Show, was created early in December by the production and writing staffs. "It all started with a meeting between the student directors Judy Projahn and Don Anderson, the student producer Margie Press, and myself," said Dick Katschke, head of the writing staff.
Staff decides theme
"After considering many suggestions, we finally decided on a theme of television programs. The show's format is a sequence of TV programs on a typical day, including game shows, commercials, situation comedies, newscasts, and spy dramas."
"With a name and a theme chosen, we were next faced with the problem of selecting the cast," Dick continued. "We had certain types of shows in mind and were looking for students who could portray the necessary characters."
"Some of the scripts of acts selected for the show were fine as originally written. Others had to be revised or completely rewritten. It is not unusual for a script to be changed as many as six times."
Aiding Dick in polishing scripts and providing transitional material between acts is the writing staff composed of Mary Bussert '68, Steve Crowe '67, Linda Corczyca '67, Terry Johnson '67, and Barb Ulviden '67.
Acts must run smoothly
"One of the main problems of the writing staff is to make sure the acts move smoothly," Dick added. "Some of the acts, such as the drum battle, are not typical TV shows. We must create an impression of watching a real television program."
Even before rehearsals began in January, the stage crews started preparing the set. "One of the main difficulties in designing and building for a production like V-Show is its tremendous size," stated Mr. Donald Martello, faculty technical director for the V-Show. "There are 360 students in the cast alone. Therefore, the stage cannot be full of scenery. Platforms must be extremely stable to accommodate as many as 250 students at one time."
Scenery is flexible
"Above all the scenery must be flexible and capable of being changed very quickly. This means the scenery cannot be elaborate or permanent."
"Most of the sets serve more than one purpose. We are again using paradacdois for set versatility. Each paradacdoid has three different sides. Placed in a series, they can be changed easily to create various settings. For the first time we are also using reversible flats or screens to increase set versatility."
J.P. Sally, working under Mr. Martello as student technical director, is in charge of designing and constructing the set. "We lost about five full working days because of the snow storm," said J.P., commenting on construction problems. "For one of the acts we need go-go cages which will come down from the ceiling with dancing girls in them. We had some problems making these cages strong enough to support the girls yet light enough to be lowered from the ceiling."
Never a dull moment
Also working backstage are Margo DeCicco and Barb Prykan, art directors. "There's never a dull moment" is Margo's description of her job. "Being art director involves designing sets; discussing costumes, color schemes, and construction with teachers and students; ordering paint; and directing a crew."
Barb stressed the versatility of the scenery for the year's V-Show. "The main backdrop used throughout the show has five abstract figures. These figures work something like cutout dolls. We can change the costume of the figures to fit the situation the acts portray."
"Variety show offers more freedom in lighting than any other school production," stated Paul Anderson, head lighting technician. "This year's V-Show will have some interesting and unusual lighting effects."
Lights create colors
Barb backed up Paul's statement,"Even though the color scheme for the scenery involves only four basic colors, we can create almost any color we want with the stage lights."
Another important aspect of V-Show is properties. Edie Mangun, head of properties crew, has worked on every production Maine South has presented and is familiar with all aspects of backstage work. As head of properties, it is Edie's job to make sure every act has all necessary props. "One of the acts needed an operating table," said Edie. "I inquired at several hospitals, but I couldn't find one. Finally we had to make one."
"This should be the best V-Show we've had so far," added Edie. "The set and the students' enthusiasm are great."
As rehearsals for the V-Show began, the costume committee also began their work. Headed by Sue Penkava '67 and Cheryl Findley '68, the nine students on the committee and faculty advisor, Miss Karen Tunbleson, met with the captains of each act to discuss the kind of costumes each act wanted to wear. From the act captains' and their own ideas, the committee designed sketches and purchased fabrics and patterns for each act.
A week before dress rehearsals, the committee evaluated the near finished costumes. Saturday, February 18, the committee helped individuals with costume construction and finishing touches.
Repairs part of job
During the show performances, the costume committee will be backstage pressing, mending, and storing costumes for the next performance.
With costumes make-up helps create a realistic impression. Candi Larsen '67, make-up crew head, and Miss Jeanne Clavel, make-up faculty advisor, have arranged training and practice sessions for students in the make-up crew.
There are two types of make-up, straight make-up for realistic situations and character make-up for special effects. Miss Clavel cited one problem of the make-up crew. "One act has three girls as seals playing bottles. We are having trouble making the seals noses so that they do not interfere with the act.
Stage Band begins early
"Striving to produce a top quality performance, the Stage Band, consisting of 24 musicians, began practicing approximately two months before the scheduled V-Show rehearsals," said Joe Hermann, student musical director, explaining the work that goes into the musical aspects of V-Show. "When these scheduled rehearsals began, the Stage Band had to be present to accompany all musical acts. The band also made tape recordings for musical acts to use during practice sessions."
"This year's V-Show has many clever musical arrangements, including a new arrangement for the finale number "Gonna Build a Mountain."
One of Margie Press's jobs as the first student producer of V-Show is to coordinate the activities of the V-Show staff and Student Council, sponsor of V-Show. "The areas of responsibility in V-Show this year have been changed to emphasize the importance of each act's performance," continued Margie.
"As student producer I have helped handle publicity and conduct stage rehearsals, while the student directors worked largely with individual acts."
During rehearsals and on show nights it is Jack Miller's job as stage manager to be sure that acts are on stage ready to perform when their cue is given. "On show nights I am also in charge of all lighting, sound, and scene change cues."
Mr. Martello emphasized the fact that V-Show is completely student run. "We follow the same procedure as professional theaters. Once the set is ready, the show is turned over to the student manager."
Jack summed up the feeling on V-Show. "This year's V-Show has a lot of different things in it which will provide a great show--both in acts and tech aspects."