Behind the Scenes of Parmageddon: Interview with Mr. Ahern

Briana Beebe and Lauren David

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What is it like to work with Mrs. Parmenter?

Working with Ms. Parmenter is great. She is very creative, knowledgeable, and has a clear idea of what she wants. Normally for the musical, I am the director, and she is in charge of the music. For this production Ms. Parmenter was the director, and I worked as the Technical Director.

How do you think Parmageddon is going to compare to traditional musicals at AHS?

The best thing about this show is its complexity. It is a combination of doing something the students have done before (the shows) with something they have never done before (a musical review.) Normally students get an opportunity to learn about one musical, but with this show, students get an opportunity to learn about 24 musicals at the same time.

How do you feel about being in charge of behind the scenes vs. being the director of the show?

It is nice for the break. I have less responsibility. On the other hand, I’m really excited to start directing again. I have a lot of plans for next year’s shows. I can’t wait to get started.

What should everyone know about the behind the scenes work of the show?

There are over 100 costumes in the production. There are several people who work backstage to make sure the actors can make their quick changes, and get their props for the next number. The students backstage also run the sound cues, lighting cues, and scene changes.

How many people worked behind the scenes for Parmageddon?

We had 56 students on the technical crew. Stage Managers, Board Operators, Follow Spot Operators, Construction Crew, Costume Crew, Props Crew, Lighting Crew, Sound Crew, Publicity Crew, and Paint Crew.

How far in advance do you usually know about the upcoming musical?

About a year. We need to buy the rights to produce the musical, so I like to get next year’s musical chosen and paid for by the end of the current school year. Parmageddon was a little different. We picked that show 2 years in advance. With the planning involved we needed that much time to pull it off.

Would you rather be in charge of tech or directing the musical?

That’s like asking me would you rather eat or drink. Normally I do both, and I love doing both. The two really go hand in hand. It depends on the show. With a show like this, being all singing, and being so personal to Ms. Parmenter I wanted to give her the opportunity to direct it. But I’ll be back to pulling double duty next year and for years to come.

What inspires the decisions for what musicals are chosen?

There are several factors in choosing the shows we do at AHS. I feel it is very important that students get an opportunity to perform a wide range of shows. Some shows are all singing like Les Miserables or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since Parmageddon is an all singing musical, then we won’t do another one like that for at least four years. We also look at the talent we have. Do we have enough boys to fill the roles, do we have a soprano that can hit those high notes, do we have students in the band that can play the orchestration? So the teachers look at these elements and toss out some ideas before settling on our next show.

How would you describe Parmageddon?

Unique. Like Ms. Parmenter.

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