Mark Kravetz is not a fame-seeker. Some at KO might not even recognize this name, and if you go to the KO News website and type in his name, the only time it appears is in the third paragraph in an article on the fall play.
So who is Mark Kravetz? Well, according to him, he is the Technical Director of Roberts Theater, but you might want to call him the CEO and mastermind behind Roberts. For the 30 years he has been here, Mr. Kravetz has been responsible for almost everything that happens related to tech. From the maintenance of the devices, to creating the lighting effects and sound effects for every theater production, to organizing the time schedule for the theater, to creating all the props a performance needs to upgrading all the theater equipment from year to year, Mr. Kravetz has been the one to do it all.
Being the technical director of the theater is no easy job and takes a lot of time, as evidenced by Mr. Kravetz’s schedule board on his desk that is always filled with reservations, meetings, and everything else to do with the theater. He said this is due to the fact that he always needs to create all the lightning queues for all stage productions. For example, the most recent winter musical, “Chicago,” was one of the plays which he took part in as the lighting director.
“For shows like ‘Chicago,’ [theater director] Mr. Reynolds and I will go through and write down a ‘paper tech,’ which is all the lighting instructions with descriptions matched with the script,” he said. “‘Chicago’ had over 250 different queues. We probably sat down together for a good 10 hours doing the paper tech, and we also had to do several rehearsals with the cast, going queue to queue to queue, and that was another 10 or 12 hours. And we had to do the same thing with sound.”
This massive effort seems miniscule in comparison to all the hard work Mr. Kravetz has put in during his time at KO. In his memory, Roberts has not always been like now, and one aspect he hoped to improve was the equipment for lighting and sound. “When I first came here, we had old fashioned light boards; nothing was computerized,” he said. “We didn’t even have wireless microphones. Actually, the sound system was one step above home stereo. The speaker we had was Mr. Chiarrapa’s old speaker, an old amplifier.”
Mr. Kravetz said he has always been an active learner, which he said is of the utmost importance when taking on big projects and improvements. “One of my big jobs here is to keep this a state of the art facility,” he said. “So over the 30 years I’ve been here, I have had to do a lot of research, to figure out the latest trend on lighting and on sound. I have to keep on top on all of that stuff.”
All his efforts have proven to have significant impacts on the theater. “The theater has really changed over the years,” he said, “starting from a bare bones operation to where we have basically the same equipment as the Bushnell in Hartford.” Of course, Mr. Kravetz does not do all of this work alone. He has his own theater team, the tech crew. Consisting of students, the crew is responsible for building, rigging, and running sets for the theater productions. Mr. Kravetz used to run the crew, but now he has stepped back a little, letting the students themselves run the performances.
Mr. Kravetz and his crew also have to handle some situations when things do not go as expected in the theater. “When we did ‘The Drowsy Chaperon’, there was a bed in one scene where the actors disappeared off the set. There’s a hole in the wall, and the bed simply slides through it,” he said. “Well, one night instead of sliding the bed through the wall, they slid it into the wall, and it fell down. So the technicians backstage had to hold the wall up through the next whole scene which went into intermission. And then I got the tap on the shoulder: ‘Mr. Kravetz, can you come and rescrew the walls?’” Without a doubt, Mr. Kravetz was there to save the day, like always.
Mr. Kravetz continues to be an irreplaceable figure at KO. Without him and all his effort, Roberts would not be such an awesome place for students to share their talents and ideas. Mr. Kravetz will sit in his office above the theater quietly for years to come, and his passion for the performing arts and technical support will continue to light up every play, every concert, every assembly. Thank you, Mr. Kravetz, for being KO’s very own theater mastermind.