January 12, 2010

Daily Routine (show mode)

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 8:28 pm

A rundown of my routine during performances at the Guthrie.

1 1/2 Hours Before Curtain

Hang around theatre, make sure everything is prepared for the return of the actors. The stage should be clear for warm-up and props ready for fight call. This is the trouble-shooting time.

1 Hour Before Curtain

Voluntary warm-up begins onstage. Invite the cast to the stage for warm-up.

45 Minutes Before Curtain

Call the cast to the stage for fight call. The fight captain runs fight call, and we mostly stand off to the side making sure everything goes smoothly.

35 Minutes Before Curtain

With the conclusion of fight call, I holler up to the booth where our light board op puts us into blackout check. This turns off all stage and house lights, and if anything is amiss (lights on that shouldn’t be, or spill from improperly masked running lights), it will show itself. This usually takes about 5 seconds to establish that it is indeed dark, and for me to call for the lighting preset.

After we’re in preset, I check the stage for debris or people’s personal belongings they may have left on or near the stage during warm-up, such as coats and water bottles. I check that any onstage props and furniture are on their spikes and properly set, then invite Nick to inspect for himself (it’s really his stage, so unless he’s busy I want him to have a chance to approve it). Once Nick and I agree that we’re ready to open, I tell the house manager that the house can open, and our sound engineer plays a “welcome” announcement over the PA, telling the patrons in the lobby that seating will begin.

30 Minutes Before Curtain

The famous “half hour.” First, I call half hour over the backstage PA. Then I gather up my belongings and head to the booth, where I will park myself for probably the next three hours. I set up my computer, and at least at this point where we’re transitioning from daytime rehearsals in the house, I carry my headset and script up with me.

Then I hang out and/or blog until I have to interrupt myself temporarily to call “15”.

7 Minutes to Curtain

I switch my radio from the “SM” channel for our theatre to “FOH” (front of house), and ask the house manager if we expect a delayed curtain due to late seating, traffic, weather, etc. This helps me plan the five minute and places calls so the cast isn’t standing around if we know we’ll be starting late.

5 Minutes to Curtain

I call “5”. This can be adjusted early or late depending on the expected actual start time.

At Curtain Time

I call “places.” Like the 5-minute call, this can vary, although unless something unexpected happens, I try to make it literally 5 minutes after the “5”. At this point I check in with the crew on headset and make sure everyone is ready to begin. As the cast arrives on the deck, Nick begins a head-count so we know when we have places.

When We Have Places

When we actually have places, Nick tells me, and I radio the house manager that I’m ready. She will either tell me that we need to hold for people being seated, or will order the staff to close the doors. The door people radio back that their doors are closed, and then the house manager confirms that we’re OK to begin, and wishes us a good show. And then away we go!