Meet the Staff

Aaron Hochheiser

What does a day in the life of a master electrician look like? 

The typical day involves interacting with designers and other production staff members working out details of upcoming and current show projects, generating paperwork to ensure a fast and smooth load-in process. If we are in tech the typical day Starts at 8am and we take care of any work notes that came from the previous night’s rehearsal, then being available during rehearsal for any notes or problems that come up. The day ending around 1am after the production meeting at the end of rehearsal.

Who or what inspired you to get into this line of work 

My mother got me involved in theater at a very young age. Growing up on Long Island I had the opportunity to see a lot of Broadway shows while growing up. Then while in college I had an amazing lighting professor who taught me I could make a living doing what I had a passion for.

What was the first show you worked on?

When I was 6 years old my mother was involved with the community theater that does a fundraising show and I painted tombstones for “Fiddler on a Roof”. My first show as Master Electrician was “Hedda Gabler” when I was in college.

What do you find most difficult about being a master electrician?

The long hours of tech can be very tiring. We often work 60-70 hour weeks when we are loading in and teching a show.  I start to miss my wife and dog after a while.

How do you begin each show?  What is usually the first thing you have to prepare for?

The first information I typically get from the designer is what the total number of lights they want to use in the show and special projects that there might be. Special projects might include anything from lanterns, candles, submersible lighting, or 120 hanging light bulbs like in “Water by The Spoonful” I then do a preliminary budget for what those projects will cost in addition to any lighting equipment the Lighting Designer wants to use outside of our inventory.

What was the most fun show to work on?

Ever, was a show I ran light board for called “Bach at Leipzig” by Itamar Moses. The show was hysterical and the cast was a lot of fun to work with. There was a lot of laughter before,  after and during the show.  My favorite show here was “39 Steps”. There was a lot of fun projects on that show, like the fireplace that also needed to be a car. 

It was been very exciting to get to work our first production with Darko that he picked for us to do.

Are there any highlights from the 2011-2012 season that you can share with us?

For the Lighting Department it would probably be “Water by The Spoonful” there were a lot of very creative projects that we accomplished with a lot of success. We had a gas stovetop  that needed to look like it was lit, a fridge light that needed to turn when the door opened both on a platform that moved in multiple directions so it couldn’t be plugged in.  There was also the 120 light bulbs that were wired into 24 different plugs so they could “twinkle”.

How has your experience been working with Hartford Stage?

It has been great. I get to work with talented and creative people all of the time.  Whether it’s our incredibly talented production staff or the fantastic guest designers and artists that get brought in to work the shows. I am coming to the end of my 5th season here and am very proud of the projects we have accomplished and the projects yet to come.

Do you have other talents or passions outside of working in theater?

I love being outside whether it’s hiking, going to the dog park, or cooking on the grill. A bunch of us in the production department also get together to play kickball.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a master electrician?

I was an accounting major for the first year and a half of college. So I would probably be in finance or accounting if I hadn’t be drawn in by the temptations of theater.