Double Trouble

Senior Best Friends Reflect on Working Backstage For Theater


Photo Courtesy of Emma Frith

Sporting their Bobcat pride, seniors Emma Frith and Lauren Dane show off their future school, Texas State University. The duo are known to work backstage in tech during theatre productions, with Dane mainly manning costume design and occasionally lights, and Frith in the stage manager position. “I’m super sad that this is my last year working with Emma because it’s what brought us together,” Dane said. “But I’m so excited to go to college with her and see everything she does as she continues with theatre. I really love the friendship Emma and I have and I want to keep it through college.”

Isa Morgan, Reporter

It’s everyone’s dream to work with their best friends, and for seniors Lauren Dane and Emma Frith, that’s what they’ve been doing for the past three years; working backstage in tech during theatre productions. Dane is head of the costume design department and occasionally works with lights, and Frith is the stage manager position. The two have been working together and getting closer as friends ever since sophomore year.

The duo started their careers in theatre separately, but their first show together was their UIL show titled “Mental State” during their sophomore year. During the show, Frith was in her usual position of stage manager and Dane working as the special technician. According to Dane, it wasn’t until a team building trip that the pair got close.

“We weren’t really friends at the time, but we started becoming friends on our team building trip that we went on; Cabin,” Dane said. “We started becoming good friends there. We worked on our junior year UIL show together and we were good friends then, but since then we’ve been really close. I think we probably would have been friends without Cabin, just because we’ve worked on so many shows since then and we’ve had so many classes together since then, but I think [Cabin] kind of sped up the process a little.”

Starting off her theatre career, Frith tried out acting on the main stage but soon discovered that working behind the scenes was the best option for her. According to Frith, this is how she found her love for stage managing and technical  theatre.

“I started working in theatre in general my freshman year,” Frith said. “I was in a theatre one class because I thought I was going to be an actor, I thought I was going to be Margot Robbie and then very quickly I started to realize that I hated acting and it was no fun at all and I didn’t know how to do it so I kind of got swift into tech. I fell in love with it I had a lot of fun and I’ve been doing it ever since, never looking back.”                                      

As for Dane, thanks to a costume position in her seventh grade musical, she said she found what she loved. Now, Dane continues her career in costumes by making costumes, manning quick changes and making sure her department is on track.

“My very first show was our musical in seventh grade,” Dane said. “I started doing costumes on that show and ever since then I’ve just been doing costumes. Except for UIL where I do some lighting. But I totally fell in love with it then. I thought it was so much fun and I’ve just been doing it ever since.” 

The two best friends are usually found backstage working together so closely that Frith would say they could finish each other’s sentences. With their two independent positions that still work so closely together they have developed communication skills that managed to improve their end product, according to Frith.

“We primarily work together,” Frith said. “We’ve worked together the most on UIL shows because we work really closely. I think we work really well together, [and] we think alike a lot, so we’re able to work together and communicate together super easily.”

According to Dane, the girls try to keep their friendship and their positions separate in order to get the best results.

“She [keeps] me on track with costumes,” Dane said. “My big thing for ‘Something Rotten’ was that I made all of the egg costumes and she kept me on track, those would not have gotten done if I didn’t have Emma saying ‘Lauren you need to go work on those right now.’ It’s so weird because on one hand this is Emma, this is like my best friend ever, but like on the other hand I’m supposed to listen to everything she tells me to do. Personally, I try to separate our friendship and her being the stage manager, like during UIL and during the musical and all that, when she’s stage manager, every time she tells us to do something I say ‘yes ma’am’ and I do it.”

Even during competition seasons for the theatre, Frith said tensions can rise between other tech positions due to the competition for awards to show off their work. But, with the connection the two have made, their views are different from their peers.

“I think there definitely is tension between tech teams,” Frith said. “There is an All-Star Tech award that one person out of the tech team will get which I think [causes] tension between other people but never between me and Lauren. Lauren is always telling me ‘I hope you get the award’ because there’s no competition between us, but I think other people on our tech team feel a little differently, but not us, and I can confidently say that.” 

According to Dane, it’s thanks to rehearsals and these close working experiences that their friendship has grown. From things like regularly scheduled lunches at each other’s houses with a designated menu of Shirley Temples and garlic onion pasta, to spending every rehearsal working together, these routine activities help with keeping their friendship in its current state.

“We spend a lot of time together at rehearsals like a lot,” Dane said. “So I think if it weren’t for all of the shows we’ve been in together we wouldn’t really be friends. Because we’ve had classes together since then, but you know it would be one of those friendships where you have one class together and don’t talk.” 

Both Frith and Dane are equally as involved in other extracurricular activities and still manage to balance their theatre responsibilities. For Dane, who is not continuing theatre in her college career, putting theatre first for her remaining time in high school is a priority for her. 

“I’m the secretary for Key Club, so I do a lot of volunteering and I do interior design,” Dane said. “I’m in the practicum class, which is what I’m majoring in in college, and I’m in FCCLA, where I was supposed to compete with state, but then because of COVID I got exposed and I couldn’t go. I put theatre first because this is my last year doing theatre, like ever.”

For Frith, she puts her position on Celebrities first due to this being her last year dancing. She said she plans to continue her tech career with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre with an emphasis in technical design at Texas State University. 

I’m super sad that this is my last year working with Emma because it’s what brought us together. But I’m so excited to go to college with her and see everything she does as she continues with theatre. I really love the friendship Emma and I have and I want to keep it through college.”

— Lauren Dane

“It’s really hard for me right now [to decide between all activities],” Frith said. “I love theatre, it’s my passion, [and] I love working in such a creative space but Celebrities right now, this is my last year dancing so it’s kind of become a number one spot for me. It’s a very different environment overall but I think with good communication and talking with both directors I’m really able to get the best of both. I’ve never had such a big conflict where I’m really sacrificing something for the other. I would say they work pretty well together but there are some times where I’m like having to make that decision on what I’m going to do.”

With their most recent production being Frozen, Frith choreographed numbers in the production and was featured on stage as Elsa’s ice powers, a role that combined her love for theatre and her dance knowledge..  

“I [choreographed] Frozen as a very different thing, because I’m always stage manage,” Frith said. “I’m kind of done for high school, like I have hit a wall, so I decided I was going to choreograph. I’ve been dancing for almost 10 years now which is crazy, so I decided I was going to do choreography. It’s been very different. I have a quick change so that will be fun to try and work together and I’m about to be on stage, it’s going to be a fun show. I’m excited.”

Although the duo will be attending Texas State University, they will not continue to work behind the scenes together, so they are making their final shows something worth remembering. According to Dane, their friendship is something that will continue to grow throughout this new stage of their lives through their different paths.

“I’m super sad that this is my last year working with Emma because it’s what brought us together,” Dane said. “But I’m so excited to go to college with her and see everything she does as she continues with theatre. I really love the friendship Emma and I have and I want to keep it through college.”