Tech Tour of Central’s Production of Rent

Tech Tour of Centrals Production of Rent

Samaira Sandil, Managing Editor


Champaign Central’s acting class finished the 2022-2023 school year with the emotional production of Rent, a rock musical set in the 90’s depicting the life of a struggling group of New Yorkers. With the performance came the versatile three-story structure that the Tech Crew built within 72 hours, new lighting techniques, and a rock band.

Stage Manager and Head of Tech Angela Nguyen said, “Rent is a three-story set that is more industrial than sets we have built in the past. It’s a little bit more rustic with the windows, brick, and the set being mostly just the structure. The set includes Roger and Mark’s apartment, a place for the rock band, a staging area on the third level and a space in the front for the outside. With a lot of dedication from our techies and thespians we were able to build the set over one weekend.”

As always, Head of Lights, Laney Heggemeyer, spent lots of time programming the lights for the show. For this production, the cyclorama (screen for lighting on the back wall of the stage) was not used as they decided to leave the back wall exposed to add to the rundown building setting. Instead, they added multiple sets of booms which were intended to add drama to various scenes as well as flair to dance numbers. 


As for the light crew themselves, Laney was stationed within the light booth while Charlotte Heads and Liam Abzug handled the spotlights up on the catwalk. 

For this show, Head of Sound, Maddie Bigler, had Margo Gengler take over the reins for the majority of the preparation. “She’s getting good at it!” said Bigler, “I’m so proud of her taking over when I couldn’t be there. She still has a lot of problem-solving to learn but she’s doing awesome!”

In addition to the sound effects and mics that the sound team had arranged, what Ms. Ladonna Wilson, the Head of the Drama Department, stressed during the Monday play previews was the professional rock band they hired for the show. Regarding the band, Bigler said, “… It’s super fun to do this show with a live band, but it’s hard to mix with a band… I have to keep everyone’s mic really high because a live band is loud.”

Unlike Central’s productions of Matilda and The Little Mermaid, Rent did not include any flying. With the heavy topics the show dealt with such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, homophobia, and drug addiction, flying didn’t seem appropriate to the production.