Behind the scenes of the S!NG backdrops

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Last weekend’s S!NG performances resulted with a victory for the Semores once all the votes were tallied. The results reflect the work of not just the actors and directors but that of choreographers, musicians, writers, and more. One department that always stands out, however, is the art department, which is charged with bringing visuals in the script to life and producing an enormous painted backdrop for each respective show. 

The directors of the art department of the Freshior team included  juniors Alyssa Shim, Anna Sokol and Jackie Singhnani. Seniors Mary Kirk, Zoe Chen, Emily Li, Stacey Chen and Estella Chan led the Semores’ art directors. 

Alyssa said “The brainstorming process was kind of hectic, to be honest. The ideas came to mind pretty easily, I think, but it was just a matter of hearing each other and just compromising.” She said that the directors simply wanted to “make sure the vision [of the overall directors] was being brought to life.”

For the Semores’ side, Zoe said, “The original brainstorming process was pretty smooth sailing, especially because there were only five of us. We just read through the script and gave each other any ideas that came to mind.” 

Sophomore Apurbo Haider said, “the art directors came up with a design that us crew members helped bring to life.” To be honest [coming up with the designs] was more of the Directors’ thing. They were the ones that made it all possible. I really don’t think that I have it in me to think up something as brilliant as they did.” 

Junior Christina Watkins said, “the directors were literally awesome even though they were super stressed out.” 

This year, the Semores decided to switch up their color palette from last year. “When we were reading the script, we were getting a lot of Tangled vibes for the backdrop, so there were a lot of purples and yellows. Our backdrop last year was very dark and dull because of our show theme, so this year we wanted to use more vibrant, fun colors,” said Zoe. 

The Freshiors worked to bring the mythical Mount Olympus from their plot to life. “The backdrop was supposed to resemble Olympus with a plethora of buildings adorning the mountains behind it,” Alyssa said. 

Each of the artists had their personal favorites from the backdrops. Alyssa loved “seeing the underworld river of Styx flat come to life.” For Apurbo, one particular scene stood out: “Definitely the backdrops in Siobhan’s home. [There] was so much detail and I love the eery, dark magician feel it gives off. Perfect for the character.” Junior Tasneem Rahman said “I really enjoyed having that creative freedom to design and paint different kinds of houses that fit the theme.” 

Zoe added that she was always amazed by how the smallest details could make the biggest difference and noted “how it all slowly, but surely came together.” Mary said, “The small details were so much fun. I saw real growth and talent within the art department this year, and it’s just so evident when you look closely at our backdrop.” 

Many S!NG art department members commented that the burnout was getting real by referring to the last week before the opening show as ‘hell week.’ 

“Hell week was truly, well, HELL week. I struggled with keeping my academics afloat while being consistent with coming to S!NG,” Shamonti said.

“Hell Week was just the worst,” said Apurbo. “For performers, they could simply do their work in between scenes when they weren’t on stage. But for us, [art members], we were constantly working on touching things up and adding details to our pieces. There wasn’t much time to get school work done.” 

Managing S!NG and school has always been a struggle for students but many students described the final result as rewarding. Christina said, “[I] loved how everyone worked together to make such beautiful art even [though] everyone [was] stressed.”  Zoe said, “Because we are all seniors, we also have college applications to do, so a lot of us had to take breaks, especially when the [early decision] and [early action] deadlines came up. A lot of us also had our QC elective classes after school, so it was hard for all of us to be there for the S!NG [meetings].” 

Both teams’ art departments shared how much being a part of the S!NG community means to them. Alyssa said, “I am really thankful for them and without them, there would be no art.” Mary shared how much she “appreciates the recognition [the art department] got from other departments because [they’ve] worked really hard to get this done.”