July 9, 2011

The Calling Case

I call this: theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:35 pm

This is a little something I like to call The Calling Case. It’s a handy little box that sits with me when I’m calling a show. The need for a convenient, easily-transported box comes mostly from touring, where I might spend four hours or less at a given calling desk before packing it all in again. Especially on the road, I found it very handy because I could take off for the desk with nothing but this, my script, and my computer and know I have everything I will need during the show.

Find Your Own

As you can see from the ArtBin label on it, this is presumably supposed to be a case for artists to carry their tools. I think it’s probable that I found it at a Hobby Lobby, but I’m not 100% sure. It could also have been a Walmart. The exact case doesn’t really matter, although this size is sufficient, just barely, for what I need to carry. If it could fit a LittleLite, it would be even better. But the key is, it’s sturdy, closes securely, has a slim profile, and a nice big handle.

The Contents

  • My headset – that’s a Telex PH-88 with some modifications I’ve made. The most important function the calling case serves is to protect my headset. Everything else that happens to fit in the case is just a bonus.
  • Pen/pencil case – that’s a Mont Blanc case, but they’re not Mont Blanc writing implements. My primary pen and pencil are made by Sensa. I generally call every performance with a pencil in my hand, or very close by. The pen just kind of tags along because it’s in the case with the pencil.
  • Snackage – I try to have a Nutri-grain bar or similar healthy and filling snack on hand in case I get hungry during the show, or end up missing a meal if things get crazy approaching curtain time.
  • Binoculars – this is my little luxury inclusion because my calling case travels in a road box that weighs hundreds of pounds, so the weight of the binoculars is negligible. If I had to cart it everywhere myself I might think the weight was unnecesary. I’d estimate maybe once a week something will happen onstage where a pair of binoculars comes in handy — maybe to check what a foreign object is on the floor, or to see if an actor is bleeding. My actors don’t bleed once a week, I swear. I used it on Comedy of Errors a lot to see if things were on spike, because we performed in a lot of different-shaped venues where proportions sometimes looked weird, and often I had the best perspective to see if it was just a trick of the venue, or if the actors/crew missed their marks.
  • Flags – I throw a miscellaneous packet of post-it flags in, which can be used to very quickly mark a page of the script for later examination. This is mostly useful in tech or early in a run, when changes are happening and errors are still being discovered.
  • Occasional inclusion: LED USB keyboard light (not shown) – sometimes I include a USB keyboard light, which I can use as a script light powered by my computer. On the Acting Company tour I always have a LittleLite, but on shows where I have to be more self-sufficient sometimes it ends up being my keyboard light, and when that’s the case, it goes in the box.


  1. Thanks so much for your blog! I’ve been lurking for a while now, and your blog is in my G reader. It is really interesting to read about your personal theatrical experiences, though I must mention that as a Deaf person studying theatre at a Deaf university, our Theatre productions rely on communication of a visual sort. For example, we don’t have headsets, instead, there are large iMac computers on each side of the stage and in the control booth. Communication occurs between each point via iChat and in ASL.


    KP Reply:

    Thanks for writing! That’s really interesting to hear how your school is set up for backstage communications. I was just on tour this year with a Deaf lighting director, so that’s something we had to think about pretty frequently. For us if we were communicating out of visual range it was usually by texting, since we were in a new venue almost daily and didn’t have that kind of infrastructure.

    The running of a show is usually a very audio-based process, it’s cool to hear how you’ve adapted it into a visual one. Thanks for sharing!


    Comment by Victoria — August 7, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

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