The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Fall play successful despite OPS risk policy

December 8, 2021

The Drama Department hosted its fall play just last week on Friday to Saturday. The show, “Twelve Incompetent Jurors”, was the first full length show to ever be hosted in the Black Box. The program was met with several challenges during preparations.

“Because of OPS Risk policies, the Central drama department was unable to rent a lift. No one except for a contractor on separate insurance is allowed to use a scissor lift on OPS property,” student technical director, Holden Fershée, said.

OPS Risk is a risk prevention group out of the TAC building. Not only can students not use lifts, but neither can any adults on OPS property.

“This was an issue because lights were not able to be hung over the stage, they could only be hung off to the sides. That means you can only do front and side light. Typically, you’d have front, side, back and down light. That limited the execution of a traditional lighting plot in the space,” Fershée said. “Theatrical lighting is less about making light than it is about controlling shadows. When you’re trying to recreate an office building, where it would only have lighting from the ceiling, [control is more complex].

Despite these obstacles, the department remained positive. When asked to comment before the show, Drama Department Director, Scott Mead, said, “The circumstances are not ideal, but we are working through them, and we expect to put on a great show.” Fershée confirmed that luckily the show was able to come together as desired.

“I wouldn’t say that the show didn’t turn out as I had hoped, the show turned out well,” he said.

The tech crew had to focus on problem solving. “We added more lights [where we could]. We [used] lighting and sound equipment that was brought in by our resident technical artists, instead of equipment dedicated to the space.”

This process was difficult, because there is still lighting and sound equipment missing from the space that has not been put in place, and installation took longer without lifts.

“As lighting people, you’re never going to get everything that you want, so you do what you can with the equipment you have. Though it meant that [the play] was more trying to find functionality, instead of it being a teaching and learning experience for new students.”

Luckily the show wasn’t particularly lighting heavy, and neither was it sound heavy, which made the show possible. Although with how delayed the auditorium is, there is a real possibility that both the musical and road show will be in the Black Box, which are sound and light heavy.

“That is something that would be extremely difficult. Especially with the inability to use a lift, because for musicals particularly, you need down and back light. This show was doable, but the musical and Road Show, if we have to do them in [the Black Box], would be a lot more difficult,” Fershée said.

Should the musical and Road Show be held in the auditorium instead, there are still pressing issues. Sound renovations are not finished, so what took twelve years of equipment installation in the past would have to be replaced in two months and be just as functional.

“And if it isn’t, you can’t really put on a show. Sound is necessary.”


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