Dec. 4th, 2013

kaydeefalls: theater as viewed from the wings (i live on the stage)
Today was my first official day back at the Kids' Theater. It was okay. I'm not 100% thrilled to be back there, since I still kinda hold a grudge from the way they essentially laid me off for four months and took away my health insurance, and there have been a few staff changes since I left, which takes some getting used to. But I'm getting back into the routine of it. I'm kind of expecting to leave for good at the end of this season in August. No specific plans as of yet, though, so we'll see.

Am hitting panic mode on Secret Mutant. I know that as long as I upload a complete draft to AO3 on Saturday night, I still have a week before it goes live to edit it further (yes, I am that asshole), but I do still need a complete draft. And I'm getting there! I have 9000 words already! And I'm only a scene or two away from the climax. But I don't have much free time for writing left this week. Um.

So clearly it's time for me to continue the December posting meme, for which I am also still accepting prompts. :)

[personal profile] zulu asks: What is a theatre tech issue that is most likely to cause problems, but that audience members are least likely to notice/know about?

Hmmm. This is tricky -- most of the tech issues I worry about are the ones the audience definitely WILL notice. That's why they're so worrisome. But I'll say that probably the most common problem I've encountered is with lighting -- a glitch in the light board, or a lamp blowing out during a show. Unless it's truly catastrophic (like blowing a fuse, which affects EVERYTHING), the audience likely WON'T notice if one of the lighting instruments goes out in the midst of a show. But the stage manager absolutely will, because we know the look of the show well enough to realize that it's darker than it should be over there. It leads to a fun and stressful game of figuring out which lamp exactly we're missing, which channel that is on the board, and then flipping ahead through the prompt book to see which lighting cues might be adversely affected by it, and coming up with a backup plan for those cues. All while still calling the show as it goes on. If you've got a light board operator, that becomes their problem; if you're running the board as well as calling the show (which, since I tend to work in smaller theaters, is often the case for me), then it really is multitasking at its finest.

Once I started a show and realized that one of our moving lights was no longer responding -- we were using four in that show, I think, and they were always used as specials (i.e. creating a very particular, special look on a particular part of the stage for a particular moment in the staging, rather than being part of the wash, which is several different instruments together lighting large sections of the stage; losing a light in a wash is waaaaay less important, because it's not solely responsible for making a space bright). So I had to isolate which instrument was out, then think through the show and imagine which other moments it was used for, then come up with an emergency backup plan to ensure that all of those moments would be lit using whatever normal, non-moving light was pointed in that general direction instead, all while I'm stuck up in the booth at the back of the house. Fortunately, we'd had a good lighting designer, and any good LD will program in at least one submaster on the board that's a general wash (or several -- one for stage right, one for center, one for stage left, or whatever), so when all else fails you can always bring up SOME light onstage, even if it's not pretty. I think I did have to bring up a sub for one song that time. But anyway, barring complete unexpected blackout, the audience almost never notices lighting problems. They don't know how the lights are supposed to look, so they don't realize when it looks different, no matter how ugly it looks to the stage manager.


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