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The Communicator

A Drastic Change Heads to CET

Community Ensemble Theatre recently obtained headsets that were donated to them. CET was the last theater program out of the five Ann Arbor high schools to receive headsets.


During Stella Valentino’s four years at Community Ensemble Theatre (CET), the goal was always to purchase headsets. That never happened. She only ever used walkie talkies to communicate with lights and sound during the three shows that she stage managed.

“The walkies had a lot of things wrong with them,” Valentino said. “They made your voice fuzzy and often cut off the first part of what you said after you clicked the button. This was problematic for whoever was manning the lighting board needed to know the cue number that we were on.” CET’s current stage manager, Parker Haymart, has been using the walkie talkies for the past two years while on lights crew and as a stage manager.

A stage manager is in charge of calling the shows meaning that they are the one telling the lights and sound when to go. This all used to be communicated in CET over walkie-talkies.

“I remember doing ‘Pippin’ when I was on lights crew,” Haymart said. “I was doing the lights board for Pippin. And Stella was calling the show. And for a whole song I didn’t hear any cues called from Stella. So the lights just stayed the same and we missed doing lights because her walkie died and she didn’t realize that and I didn’t realize it. It creates this extra stress and this moment of imperfection within the show.”

In October of 2023, a box was dropped off in the booth. Inside, it contained eight Clear-Com headsets. CET was the last theater program out of the five Ann Arbor high schools to receive headsets. An anonymous donor donated it to CET’s program.

Allan Authier, the current CET co-sound crew head, has used ClearComs and other headset brands in the past.

“I have participated in a couple of theater programs that use Clear-Com headsets,” Authier said. “So, I’ve really enjoyed the functionality of them. I personally love Clear-Com headsets and I am excited to use them at CHS.”

Due to the very few people in CET that have used Clear-Coms in the past, this will be a learning curve. Clear-Coms are easier to use and are more effective than the walkie talkies. Although they have some downsides. They can be clunky depending on the style you use. Haymart is ready to jump in and call “Museum” with hopefully no technical difficulties happening in his ears.

“Museum” opened on Nov. 16 Alumnus were in the audience at some point during the five shows.  Many tech members were excited to show them the headsets after the show.

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Hannah Rubenstein, Print Editor-In-Chief
Hannah enjoys writing, arguing and freaking people out with her surprisingly long tongue. She does not subscribe to the government-propagated myth that sleep is necessary for the continuation of human existence. The most formative moment in her life was when she realized The Office (US), Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine were all written for or created by the same man; she now cares about that man, Michael Schur, more than most people in her life.

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