Behind the Curtain

Posted on October 20, 2016

skypac_backstage_crew-_00fav_01FROM FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Barlow Harlin (Head Rigger), Jeff Petrocelli (Head Audio), Scott Gardner, Robert Mengel (Production Manager), Allyson Dilliha (Head Wardrobe), and Elliott Beckley. SECOND ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Cody Burkholder, Jonathan Sprouse (Head Electrician), Nate Davis, Patrick Duncan, Rob Hatcher, and Susie Farmer (Head Props). STANDING IN BACK LEFT TO RIGHT: Jimmy Clouse and Kevin Slusher (Head Flyman). Not Pictured: Aaron Goodwin, Courtlin Sims, John Dearing, Colin Evans, Ron Surface, and Randall Erskine. PHOTO CREDIT: Josh Salley Photography


BEHIND THE CURTAIN

“The willing suspension of disbelief,” is a concept well known in the world of theatre, a term coined in 1817 by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with roots that can be traced back to Shakespeare’s Prologue from The Chronicle History of Henry the Fifth:

[…] make imaginary puissant […] ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings […] turning accomplishment of many years into an hourglass.

Suspension of disbelief is an essential ingredient to the magic that happens behind the curtain for audiences to temporarily accept it as reality in order to be entertained.

The stage crew employed by SKyPAC is made up of an army of passionate men and women dedicated to the arts of Bowling Green, KY, who bring some of the most spectacular stage effects and sounds to life. This powerhouse group of black-clad individuals arrive at the break of dawn to load-in several 53ft tractor trailers full of expensive equipment that make up many major pieces of the performance: hundreds to thousands of pounds of sets and scenery to be unboxed and constructed; racks upon racks of wardrobe, costumes and wigs to be steamed, organized, and numbered for cast members; lights to be hung; and backdrops put into place. No task is too small and most are extremely complex, high-tech, and even extremely dangerous. The stage crew consists of skilled electricians, carpenters, stage riggers, and other technicians break down the most complicated of sets, handle the lighting, sound equipment, and manage the special effects.

The camaraderie between the SKyPAC stagehands and their leader, Bob Mengel, makes this crew a unified hard-working force to be reckoned with. They are incredibly skilled and tirelessly work high volume performances and a wide variety of events back to back in any given season. This crew takes pride in being the best. You see it when they come together at load-in; you see it at each performance as they ensure every detail is perfection in order to make the unbelievable believable. They are SKyPAC’s magic force behind the curtain.

“A proud fact about this crew is each of them can hold their own with just about anyone when it comes to getting the job done and getting it done right. They have, in fact, broken or tied load-In and load-out times on dozens of big shows.  Our safety record is almost perfect!”  – Robert (Bob) Mengel, SKyPAC Production Manager.

Jessica Snodgrass

Marketing & Visual Arts Gallery Director, SKyPAC

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