Artists of the Issue: Raven Hong ’22 and Kyral Ogazi ’21

In anticipation of this year’s unique fall Hotchkiss Dramatic Association (HDA) production, The Festival of Fables, Record Arts interviewed two members of the HDA Tech team. Working behind the scenes with Mr. Derek Brashears, director and instructor in theatre, HDA Tech is essential to the success of HDA performances. 

Raven Hong ’22 is a three-year Upper Mid. In addition to being a member of HDA Tech this year, they are passionate about visual art. Their works are currently exhibited in various locations in the Main Building.

Kyral Ogazi ’21 is a four-year Senior, head of the Crafting Hands club, manager of JV Ultimate Frisbee, and co-head of HDA Tech.

Art by Raven Hong
Art by Hong (Raven Hong ’22)

How has Hotchkiss influenced your art? 

RH: Hotchkiss has introduced me to quite a few new mediums. I learned ceramics with Ms. Christine Owen, instructor in ceramics and made my first clay sculptures here with her. I’ve also never really worked on big tech productions before, so HDA Tech was new. Back at my old school, set pieces were just wood and boards that were painted. Here with Mr. Brashears, we’ve constructed a lot of things that I’ve always thought took a team of professionals to do, which is pretty impressive.

Why did you choose to join HDA Tech? 

RH: HDA Tech is one of things that you pick because there’s no other option, but after doing it, you realize how fun and rewarding it is to be able to contribute to something this big that people just assume that machines or professionals make. You put set pieces together with just a few days’ work. It’s also all really casual; we listen to music, chat, and joke around.

Art by Hong (Raven Hong ’22)

KO: I personally had always wanted to do stage crew, because I never had the chance to do it at my previous school, which did not have the highest theater budget, nor an auditorium to run tech. Also, I’m not necessarily the most athletic person, so since we have to choose co-curriculars here, HDA Tech was always a nice option to have.

Art by Hong (Raven Hong ’22)

What are some of your roles on HDA Tech? 

RH: No one really has roles. We’re allowed to do what we want. Usually Mr. Brashears will assign us with specific tasks, depending on what we are good at. I’m often assigned to painting when there are large set pieces that are pretty difficult and almost unintuitive. I also use the jigsaw machine because I have a steady hand.

KO: It’s mostly building stuff. Once or twice, we become crew head and have to give tasks and check in on people. During tech week, I have done lights, backstage, and makeup.

What are some of your favorite memories working on HDA Tech? 

RH: My fondest memory in HDA Tech was working on Hay Fever, which was my first season working tech, when we built a two-story house. I helped build a staircase, as a third-week newbie, which felt really cool to put together. 

KO: One of my favorite shows that I’ve ever worked on was Shockheaded Peter, because I really liked the vibe. Another moment was from last year in the winter when we did The Tempest. My favorite part of doing tech for that show was going up to the catwalk and spraying water on people during the performances. 

Art by Hong (Raven Hong ’22)

What does HDA Tech look like with COVID restrictions? 

RH: The audience may expect to see a lot of big differences, because during the fall production, they’re going to be traveling across campus while being socially distant. HDA Tech members will likely be guiding the audience from place to place. As for our work, there’s been little difference, because the majority of us are in the same pod in Watson. We keep our distance and wear our masks, which helps anyways when there are wood chips flying everywhere!

If there’s difficulties we come across or if something is not turning out well, we brainstorm together and fix the issue. We never experience something too tough that can stop us in our tracks. 

Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.