The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

Building Blocks of Theater History

Screenshot
Screenshot

Amidst a modern campus environment full of state-of-the-art technology and ever-present construction, it’s becoming increasingly easy to disregard the history of Punahou School. Small reminders, however, keep campus occupants grounded: the cornerstone on the corner of Pauahi Hall, the plaque on Old School Hall, the decorated bricks in the backstage area of the theater of Dillingham Hall.

 

The vibrant bricks speckle the wall of the Scene Shop, a large room just offstage brimming with props and equipment. The Scene Shop is used for designing, creating, and storing sets and props for Punahou School’s many productions. The painted rectangles draw one’s eyes up and away from the stage – the traditional focal point. 

 

Gazing at the bricks redirects one’s attention from the actors to the backstage crew, affectionately known as “techies”. The name “techies” is derived from the phrase “technical theater”, an all-encompassing term for the elements required in staging a production. 

Techies are often underappreciated – at the conclusion of a show, it’s the actors that receive the applause, not the backstage crew. By establishing a tradition that recognizes the contributions of techies, it “honor[s] the students who dedicate a lot of time to helping out in the theater,” said Kaitlyn Scrivner ‘24, who participates in theater both onstage and backstage. 

 

“I began helping out as a techie when I was a sophomore. I love designing and helping out backstage as much as I like singing and acting…Theatre itself is so multifaceted, and I feel like there is always something for everyone, whether it be being a part of the moving crew, stage managing, scenic design, light and sound, directing, acting. There’s so much you can do,” said Alana Clayson ‘24, another senior involved in the theater program. 

Kiana McCully ‘24 remarked, “The bricks are a way for graduating techies to leave their mark on Dillingham by designing and painting a brick as a representation of the work you’ve done over the years. It’s our way to leave our legacy on the place, and for future generations to come.”

 

The bricks invite introspection and reminiscence. Those involved in the theater program recognize the names of their childhood idols and, on the more recently painted bricks, their friends. 

“I grew up admiring the bricks on the wall and wishing that someday I could have one of my own. There’s such a strong legacy within Dillingham, and I truly think you become a part of a family unlike any other on campus,” McCully ‘24 expressed. 

 

“My best friend and I are both eligible for bricks this year, and we’ve been planning to put them next to each other for a while now. Another pair of best friends also put their bricks right next ours, so it’s very cute that they passed their spots down to us. We always looked up to them,” remembered Scrivner ‘24. 

 

Part of the allure of this tradition is the exclusivity. Techies have to work on at least eight productions to be considered for a brick. Scrivner ‘24, McCully ‘24, and Clayson ‘24 all rattle off about a dozen shows each in which they’ve participated. The Princess and the Iso Peanut, Loose Canon, and 24,000 Leagues Under the Sea come up multiple times, but the trio seems proudest of their work on tick, tick… BOOM!, a show that they co-directed together as part of an independent project. 

 

Scrivner ‘24 concluded, “I hope that future students see the bricks and realize that the theater is somewhere they can go when they want to feel seen or heard. There’s something so gratifying about seeing the things you create being used in such a concrete way. A table that I made in the shop my first year [is] featured in most productions at Punahou. If you peel back all of the paint layers, my signature and handprint are somewhere below.”

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Ka Punahou Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *