By: TJ O’Connor
I can’t remember what happened on Saturday morning; it was too long ago.
Probably I was upset that I had to wake up early on a Saturday- on my birthday. Obviously I had the best birthday of all time, what’s more fun than One Act at Plinkerton? I can’t say I knew what to expect, but I did predict that it would be low-key calamitous. And I was right; the experience was, overall, low-key calamitous, a mixture of boredom, confusion, and stress. Oh, and fun. Of course.
My first thoughts of the theatre space were this: “Where is the booth? There is no booth,” and “Where is the stage? That can’t be a stage. That’s like the paint shack.” It was a very different space from the James Barr Auditorium. But at least none of the seats were broken. For me, working lights, the space didn’t require too much adapting. The board was different from the ones I’ve used, so it took a little learning, but there was only one real issue with working it- that’s a good story. I think the group as a whole suffered with the smaller stage. I know for a fact that crew did, because they were very upset about it. I didn’t see much up close, but apparently there was virtually no backstage. Then I could see from the light board that actors were struggling with getting off stage, with no space to get around the projector screens or maneuver past one another. They still did okay.
I was operating the lights for the show. I think I was somewhat successful, but I had some troubles. First of all, I had no idea how to open the show in terms of lights… I didn’t know when to take the house lights down or when to change the worklights or when to bring the lights up on stage. Then the placement of the lights didn’t offer much in terms of sections as they were labelled. Instead of upstage left, downstage left, upstage center, etcetera, the setup was more like “Chunk 1,” “Chunk 2,” “Chunk 3.” It turned out mostly ok. I’m really looking forward to a bigger stage at Neenah. Another problem I had was a complication with capturing channels and submasters. That was probably the most stressful thing that happened. However, I got (what I think are) my most important cues in- the flashing lights for the succubus entrance and the black out after Boss Fight Number One. By sectionals, I want to have warm and cool colors coordinated with the vine curtains and projector slides.
My story from District is that I broke the lightboard in the middle of the show. I was taking control of the stage lights for the succubus cheerleader entrance, with all the thunder and flashing and music. Basically this is the only thing that happens with lights other than turning them off. Capturing and flashing the lights went fine, I did that and got ready for the next cue. But once I tried to change the scene I realized that my sliders had stopped working. I looked up at the light monitor and all the numbers on the screen had turned red. So I started hitting random buttons. Nothing happened. I poked the Plinkerton guy who was supposed to teach me and Nico to use the light and sound boards, and after a minute he told me that he had no idea what I had done and left. I continued to try to fix it; I needed the board for the second succubus entrance. The Plinkerton guy came back with someone else to try to fix it. They figured it out, and immediately after I flashed the lights again and had to get them to come back and fix it a second time. I don’t think they liked my use of the board.