Hearing the Herrings: Brothers make their mark on Dodson Auditorium

Photo by Hailey Pennington

Photo by Hailey Pennington


Q
uestion: How did you get started in this business/industry? 

Ethan: We started as student workers. A friend of mine who was in theatre told me they were looking for a hand and made a lateral move and pushed me into that position. I had an interview and got the job.

 

Q: What is the process for working on Revels? Is it a lot of pressure and how do you deal with it? 

All: It’s a lot of long nights. We have put 522 hours into working on it. Different ideas and concepts come in early and we get asked for our input. There are a lot of logistics to being backstage and it tapers down to figuring out what is possible and what isn’t.  It is not just us, though. It has taken an army to get everything to come together. Communication plays a big part; anticipating needs and listening when people talk. Knowing that they will ask you a question and having an answer ready or a solution.

 

Q: What appeals to you the most about working backstage?

All: It keeps us busy. There’s a lot of critical thinking and problem solving involved and we enjoy it.

 

Q: Has anything ever gone wrong that led you to improvise or act quickly?  

E: A lot of things can go wrong. There was one incident where we had dimming lights completely shut down and we had to rent an electric iron lung.

Jesse: Another time the curtains got hung up and we had about 30 seconds to straighten it out. We try our best to keep any mistakes hidden. You don’t want it to be noticeable to the audience. It is also my job to help if one of the girls gets injured. They know I used to be a paramedic so I help them enough to get through the night and back on stage.

 

Q: What’s the hardest part of working on the production/show? 

E: Sleep deprivation. We all have our vices to get through it; coffee, Red Bull etc.

 

Q: Would you ever expand into a family business outside of Kilgore? 

J: We have a business already; Stage Left.  We decided on that name because we started out there. [stage left or house right is the right side of a stage facing the audience.]

E: I have toured part of Texas and played different events [on stage performances]. It just depends on what is needed. I prefer to be backstage. 

 

Q: What is it like working with your siblings? Do you work well together? 

E: We were all home-schooled. We’ve been working together for a long time and we usually know what the other is thinking or how they’re going to do something.

J: Ethan and I worked together in a candle shop. It was my first job. He was 18 and I was 15. If he tells me he needs something done, then he knows it will get done and doesn’t have to worry about it.

Sam: We trust one another and hold each other to high standards.

 

Q: Do you have any other interests? 

E: We all play music. We grew up in a very musical family. It is how I find my solace. We have talked about incorporating live music into shows.

S: I like syncopated and complex music that I can analyze and dissect or study; music theory.

 

Q: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? 

All: Our parents always taught us to leave a place better than we found it and we want to leave our mark on Dodson Auditorium. Dodson is an old building and we’ve removed a lot of its quirks. We built the stage and added the sound booth. Everything was spread out before and we decided it was better to be together in one area.