Who has the best set building crew in community theater? THAT's RIGHT - WE do.
It’s Saturday morning, and the theater is alive with banging and knocking and the occasional loud crash. It smells like sawdust and donuts and coffee and cigarettes. It’s three weeks to opening night --and the air is humming with anticipation of a great show in the making.
The set building crew has been here for hours already, pounding, sawing, and climbing impossibly tall ladders – all in the effort to bring to life the vision of the director and set designer for the upcoming production of Stoppard’s 50-year-old classic “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”
They do it four times a year – reconfiguring the small stage in this converted church building in Arlington Center. Last season, the stage became adjoining motel rooms (“Unnecessary Farce”), an office building in the 1970s (“9 to 5”), a glittering mansion in Connecticut (“Game’s Afoot”), and an Italian piazza and cathedral (“Light in the Piazza”). Today, they’re working on the winch that lifted the villain in “9 to 5,” and putting it to different use altogether – hence, the ladder.
Set designer Greg Manusi-Ungaro, Gareth Williams, Stu Kazin
“Arlington is so lucky to have this core team of dedicated, knowledgeable tech people, who love finding and solving problems,” says Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, the set and lighting designer for “Rosencrantz.” “Everybody knows what to do to make it happen. Working here is a lot of fun.”
This team of volunteers is what makes Arlington special in local theater companies, he says. “This isn’t necessarily the nicest facility. There are places that have newer toys and bigger stages. But no other theater I’ve worked at has eight seasoned people who can get stuff to happen in the way they do here. It’s a testament to the organization as a whole.”