February 15, 2010

Fairfax, VA

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 2:29 pm

Yesterday we did a performance in Fairfax, VA. This is the first venue on the tour (besides the Guthrie) where we also performed last year. I could picture the loading dock and some of the backstage hallways and dressing rooms, but didn’t remember much of the stage area. I had forgotten it was so big! Of course everyone on the crew wanted to know what it was like, and my memories of the two days we spent there (doing Henry one night, and The Spy the other) were kind of foggy. I remember it being very warm, and all of us hanging out on the loading dock in tee shirts, watching the sun set, sitting on the Spy columns, which were in storage there while Henry was up. It was such a nice moment, I took a picture of it:

It most certainly was not warm yesterday, especially when we started load-in at 5AM (we had a 4PM show)! Here’s the view of our loading dock. Now remember, we’ve spent the entire tour in Minneapolis, Fargo, etc. and now we’re in Virginia, and it’s supposed to be frickin’ warmer!!

I remembered the path to get to the campus food court very well, but was thwarted when two frickin’ feet of snow blocked the path I knew! And today we’re in West Virginia, and it’s snowing again! People are asking for refunds, the cast is going to arrive late, and apparently our trip to Ohio tomorrow is going to be right in the path of the storm. Lovely!

Anyway, back to Fairfax. The set went up very fast, helped by the fact that the venue had three Genie lifts, so carpentry and lighting could work independently without needing to worry about avoiding doing tasks that require a Genie at the same time. For instance today we’re loading in with one Genie, and it’s a lot slower. We travel with our own Genie, but it’s not the kind you’re probably thinking of with the bucket that goes up and down automatically. It has arms like a forklift, and it’s hand-cranked. We need it to lift the balcony and landing up in the air so they can be bolted to the wall and the legs can get under them, and that’s about all it’s useful for.

I called from backstage, from a rather fancy calling desk that I unfortunately forgot to get a picture of. It had cameras that could be zoomed and panned, which I thought was absolutely amazing, except that I then found out the tilt didn’t work, and whatever I did would affect the front-of-house TVs for the lobby, so basically I couldn’t play with it at all. I was all excited about having infrared, until the blackout at the top of the show, when I realized I couldn’t see anything. I think the camera worked, but the two small screens on the desk were suffering from low brightness or something. I ended up using the larger TV that was mounted over my head.

It was a busy day backstage, as Nick had to take a few days off for personal reasons, and Bobby, our TD, had to learn his track (which is really easy, but it was just a little sudden). Nick left early in the second act, so we had Bobby do the whole show, with Nick watching him as long as he could. This has made my desire to call from backstage more necessary, although I think we’d have been fine even if I couldn’t. Bobby did a great job. He’s a little bummed that he has to work during the show like the rest of us now!

Tonight’s venue doesn’t have a great spot to call from backstage, and no camera, but we’re all going to be on the house wireless comm for the night, so I decided that I could deal with any little table, and if I have to get up and walk to a different wing to call a cue, it will be no problem. It would actually be kind of fun to be able to roam around. I put on one of our wireless towards the end of the show last night so that I could be one of the “candle ninjas” that turn off the remote-controled candles in the final blackout. The calling desk was a good 25 feet from the edge of the proscenium, so I had to be moving toward the stage while calling the last couple cues to get there in time. There wasn’t any technical reason that it had to be me doing it, it’s usually Nick cueing one of the local guys to push the button, but since being backstage, I’ve been determined to get to do it myself because I think it’s awesome.