Shining Light on Theater Guild


Chelsea High School’s new Theater Guild director Rachel Slupe has a lot of new ideas that she’s bringing in this year. One of Slupe’s most important goals is to get more people involved in tech for the production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

“Historically, we’ve had 12th graders and 11th graders working on tech, but in two years, they’re not going to be here,” Slupe said. “So we really stepped it up. This year, we have seven 10th graders and one freshman who are involved in tech and that’s awesome.” 

Slupe is working towards making tech a more accessible place so more people from all grade levels can get involved. Slupe understands the worries many students have about the level of commitment that may be needed for the show.

“It’s really about trying to ease them in because tech, in the same way that acting is, can be super overwhelming for someone who isn’t used to the dedication and the time that you have to put into it,” Slupe said.

Time and dedication are things that Kyle Goodgall (‘24), The Master Electrician, is very familiar with. Goodgall is in charge of making sure the lights work for the show, as well as designing the lighting cues. Lighting is one of the most important parts of theater–without it, you wouldn’t be able to see the action on stage.

“It gives more depth to the show,” Goodgall said. “For example; if it’s a sad song, I could put on darker colors that help make the mood sad.” 

Goodgall isn’t a big fan of being in the spotlight, but he enjoys working on the spotlight, especially when he has help. Slupe’s goal to get more people involved has provided him with a team that works under him.

“I personally just like to be in the shadows and do all the work, but I am happy to teach people about lighting design,” Goodgall said.

Goodgall expressed how working in theater can be influential in life outside of high school and in the future.

“I think it will help you in anything, even if you’re not planning on doing theater after high school,” Goodgall said. “I think it will be a fun experience if you join because you get to hang out with your friends and do cool things with lights or sound. Even if you’re acting; you get to be in a play that hundreds of people will see.”

For those wanting to participate in Theater Guild, tech is a great way to get involved in the theater community. 

“Come with an open mind; you’re probably going to be doing more than what you thought you would,” Goodgall said.

As Head Stage Manager, Molly Sobiechowski (‘23), acts as a liaison between the cast and the crew. Sobiechowski oversees things between the director and the cast in rehearsals, sends out emails to make sure everyone’s on the same page, coordinates with designers to make sure they’re meeting their deadlines, keeps track of where the props are, and where the actors are on the stage during any given scene. She also calls the cues during the show to prompt the lights and sound to start as well.

“My job is definitely a lot more involved this year,” Sobiechowski said. “Last year I worked mainly on calling cues during performances and tracing props which was more of a small job. I took notes and sat there but now this is a lot more detailed.”

Slupe’s changes to the program have been well received by everyone in the Theater Guild. 

“I am really enjoying how organized things are and how efficient our rehearsals are,” Sobiechowski said. “There’s a lot of student participation whether it be in costuming, set design, or lighting design, and I think it’s great to have students getting this hands-on experience and exposure.”

Whether you’re into the more technical side of theater or you want to become an actor, there are plenty of opportunities for students to take advantage of in Theater Guild.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe is kind of different from anything you might have seen from the Theater Guild so far,” Sobiechowski said. “We might even have a water feature being created which is something I’ve never worked with before, so I think that’ll be really exciting.”

In the CHS Theater Guild, students don’t have to be the best actors, singers, or dancers to join the guild, they just have to be willing to have fun and work hard.

“It is a great group of individuals who are super welcoming,” Sobiechowski said. “There’s a spot for everyone whether you love being on stage or even if you don’t, you can always try something new.”