Club sheds vestiges of past, clears storage area for new sets
Just as many homeowners find they have to periodically purge their attics or garages of broken or unneeded possessions, the Lansing High School drama club has evolved a yearly tradition of cleaning out its storage shed.
Six club members, as well as Carla Scovill, drama teacher, and Ken Church, English and forensics teacher and club sponsor, started early Saturday morning cleaning out the club's shed, which is next to the school gym.
The shed was so crammed with piled-up lumber and discarded furniture that before the crew set to work, no one could get more than halfway to the back of the roughly 40- by 40-foot shed, Scovill said.
Nick Kelloff, LHS sophomore and drama club crew member, said he came to help because "I'm a techie, and I know how bad it can get." Kelloff and fellow club member sophomore Edwin Fluevog carried two-by-fours from broken sets while sophomore William Dole pried nails out of old set pieces to recycle the wood.
The club members worked Saturday to combat not only the accumulation of the club's own props and set pieces, but unwanted miscellany from the rest of the high school, which was often piled on top of the club's items. Janitors and maintenance workers throughout the school year stow broken desks and scrap wood in the shed, sometime stacking them on top of the club's equipment, rendering some props and set pieces unusable.
"We had to get rid of several things that were ruined by having stuff piled on them," Scovill said. Among such items were cracked set pieces, a cracked plastic pedestal and a broken nightstand.
There are no bad feelings though, because, Scovill explained, the school just doesn't have room anywhere else for the items. Building another shed has not been considered, Scovill said, because LHS' future auditorium, to be built by fall 2007, should offer plenty of storage for the drama club. That would free up the shed the club cleaned out Saturday morning.
"Everyone's just trying to make it work," Scovill said, describing the storage situation.
The piles of discarded lumber and furniture won't go completely to waste. Much of the wood can be recycled for building sets, and what can't will serve one last purpose: fuel for the homecoming bonfire in October.
The annual shed cleaning is just one example of behind-the-scenes activities besides rehearsal that the drama club does in order to put on its fall play, variety show and one-act play in the spring. In addition, sets must be built, which require designing, planning and getting the right materials. Some of those materials, such as scrap wood, are found during the shed cleaning.
Kelloff said he thought most people who saw the club's productions probably didn't appreciate all the work required.
"The only ones that do pay attention (are people who) do the set work," he said.
By late Saturday morning, the club had created a big pile of lumber, broken sets and furniture on the lawn outside the shed. The salvageable furniture was saved, and maintenance workers hauled off the pile of discarded items the next day.