(Which is a terrible excuse for missing Caturday yet again, but there you are.)
Performance number 4 this season is a travelling show. It comes with a pre-constructed set and dressings and all we have to do is install and focus the lights and set up the stage. It is a pretty simple set.
The curtains at the back are tied up to wash and paint the stage, and there will be some furniture once all the painting and light focus is done.
Tech week is hell. The lights get hung and focussed, which we have to do from scaffold and extension ladder, and then the sound and lights all have to be programmed. Then there are rehearsals in which the lights and sounds have to be synced to the action and dialogue of the play. Then there are rehearsals with full sound and lights and then full sound, lights and costume. There are two rehearsals a day and all kinds of miscellaneous bits and pieces and details to take care of between rehearsals. Because I am the carpenter and the light and sound tech, I have to be there to run sound and lights with the actors, but have to do the bits and pieces during the actors' breaks. The days are 10 to 12 hours long. Saturday is day one of tech week for me. We will not go to performance schedule until next Saturday.
The lights are absolutely my least favourite thing to install. Big modern theatres have light bars on hydraulics that can be dropped to a height where the lights can be installed from the floor. Our theatre was carved on the cheap out of an old bakery and its light bars (called LX) are chained to the trusses. If we are lucky, we get a preliminary light plan before the set is built and the lights can be installed by scaffold. If not, we have to monkey around with ladders on the set and it is precarious and scary. That is our shaky scaffold in the back. It is my least favourite kind of scaffold because it is always shaky, even with all of its proper pieces installed properly. So I get 15 feet in the air, drop a rope, pull up a light, and then clamp it to an LX. Then it had to be panned (turned) and tilted to face whatever it is going to illuminate. Then it needs to plugged into one of the many power cables I have brought along via the scaffold from the roof at far stage left. These cables need to be secured to the LX as we go. We use a ton of electrical tape.
I love the effect of lights. I love what light does in a show. But man, I hate putting lights up and focussing them.
This post has been brought to you by anxiety and stress. Thanks for listening. There will be better days (and posts!) ahead.