“Production issues” is a phrase that those who follow the entertainment industry are more than familiar with. They can range from the smaller issues like an actor getting sick and delaying production for a day to major ones like a director change in the middle of production.
But imagine a production issue where a theater is damaged not by one severe natural disaster but two.
That’s what happened when the Tiger Stage Company of Sealy began putting together a production of the play “Noises Off” last May. Shortly after auditions were held, a senior awards ceremony was being held in the Sealy High School auditorium which was the venue for the play as well.
Director Erin Moore said the weather outside escalated quickly and ferociously.
“Our principal was on stage and the rain was really loud so we turned the microphone up and all a sudden I see the people on the stage turn around and there was water coming out,” Moore said. “Outside it looked like someone had poured Sonic ice everywhere from the hail.”
The damage to the theater was seen through multiple leaks and the classroom and storage room flooding. Moore said there was fabric in the storage room that she and other faculty members had to take home to wash themselves before taking it back.
The cast was able to rehearse normally throughout the summer while the theater was repaired and as for as production issues went, there were none. That was until the last days of August when Hurricane Harvey came in.
“We got water in there again because they’re still working on our roof,” Moore said. “After the hurricane, plaster just fell off the wall.”
Moore said the biggest challenge after the hurricane was building a set given the lack of supplies like plywood, tools, etc. She said to make up for this, the crew of the play had to use what was already around to create the set in just a few weeks’ time.
A task that was not easy given the complexity of the set which was on wheels and can transform into different sets. Moore said her crew kids met the challenge head on.
“The kids are rock stars,” Moore said. “There’s not many times they get to build something so great and they have this huge set change and that’s a chance for me to showcase them as well as the actors.”
To make matters even more interesting, Moore’s best set builder had graduated and gone off to the military leaving a few inexperienced builders.
“They were so nervous and I told them that they would learn and get the skills and be amazing,” Moore said. “The crew are the leaders and I’ve seen them master tools and now they’re teaching other people. So they’ve come from really good technicians to being really good builders.”
Senior Garrett Chaney, who is also the co-president of the Tiger Stage Company, said the entire process took the entire crew’s efforts to pull off.
“It’s a real prideful thing to watch something come together that you’ve worked really hard on,” Chaney said. “The crew did a crazy good job putting the set together and the actors have stepped up as much as we could to help this all get set up.”
As for the play itself, Moore said it is a personal favorite of hers and Chaney said the beginning was challenging for the actors given the play’s complexity in terms of blocking and themes but he now loves the play.
“It’s one of the hardest and longest shows I’ve ever done but it’s really cool to get what’s going on,” Chaney said. “Now everyone understands how it runs and the set changes and it’s a really cool thing to watch.”
Audience members can buy tickets at the door and show times are Oct. 5-8 at 7 p.m. with an additional performance at 2 p.m. on the 8th.