By Katrissa Porter, Staff Writer

Set in the Alumni Theatre from "I Hate Hamlet" Production (Photo courtesy of Karissa Porter))

Set in the Alumni Theatre from “I Hate Hamlet” Production (Photo courtesy of Karissa Porter)

The technical crew at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) works hard to prepare for shows at the Alumni theatre by quickly and carefully building intricate sets for the different plays that are performed throughout the year. There is a significant amount of time put into the sets, much more than what can be seen from the audience while watching the shows.

  Stan Spilecki, the resident scenic and lighting designer for both the Emery Community Arts Center and the Alumni Theatre, along with the technical director for each of these facilities, has stayed busy so far this semester. “The majority of the events cluster at the beginning of the year, which we have the main academic show at alumni theatre going on, which is half of my job and then we have a lot of other major events in the Emery,” said Spilecki. “And this year particularly because we had the president’s inauguration and the 150th celebration, which came extremely difficult to get it all done. But that’s kind of the nature of the beast.”

  However, Spilecki does not have to do all this work alone. He works with ten students on his technical crew for the alumni theatre. “They help install the lighting equipment, sound equipment, and depending on the structures that might need more specific knowledge, we train the technical crew as we go,” said Spilecki. “There is really a lot of on the job training for event work and the technical theatre work both in all aspects that may come up, so they get a lot of opportunity to do a lot of different things.”

  Leigh Welch, a worker on Spilecki’s technical crew, has devoted from 8:30 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon on her Saturdays to working on the sets and various other projects that may need to be done. “I’ve built sets for three major shows: Grapes of Wrath, Keely and Du, and I Hate Hamlet,” said Welch. “I enjoy the carpentry the most. I like being able to build things from scratch. I hate painting the sets. It’s tedious and I always mess up, and then I have to go over it again.”

  “The crew works an excess of five-hundred hours on the set in Alumni theatre,” said Spilecki. “It takes a great deal of time to plan and do the designing. Their work-study jobs are not sitting around, they actually do a lot of physical work and a lot of people don’t want that.”

  With that said, Welch always feels appreciated for the time and hard work that she puts into the shows. “I get into the shows for free because I’m on the technical crew, so I get one free show and I love to go see how it all looks and how it came together at the end,” said Welch. “And we’re mentioned in the program. Our names are all listed under the technical crew.”

  Although I Hate Hamlet was finished on October 27, there are still more shows in the making. Student theatre ten-minute scenes are going up the week of December ninth. The Tempest will be performed March thirteen through the sixteenth. For further information on where these shows will be held, look for updates at the Alumni Theater.