11/8/14 11:34 pm - redwolftamer - More college tales of woe
Anybody still here? Whatever, I'm recording this for posterity.
Freshman year of college I was run crew on my school's production of The House of Bernarda Alba and basically my job consisted of one thing: taking the basket of laundry off the stage after Act I. The rest of the time I'm sitting in the hallway where the dressing rooms are playing Pokemon Sapphire on my Gameboy Advance (it was 2005). Throughout the three week run I was perfect in this one arduous task, always being right in my spot to go out and get the basket at the perfect time. That is until the second to last performance. I don't remember exactly what it was that was distracting me, probably a combination of talking with the other crew members and attempting to raise my Mightyena up high enough to take on Norman, but all of a sudden I hear applause signaling the end of the act. Crap, get your ass out there now! I jump up and run to the wing and get right out there right as the lights go down and grab the basket. Close call! One of the other crew members, who was on wardrobe duty and an uppity bitch gave me a talking to, which I kinda deserved but at the same time it was the only time I almost messed up and there was only one show left.
Also in freshman year I was running the light board on the big dance show at the end of the semester and out of all four years of college that was hands damn my favorite show that I worked on and not just because it was technically the easiest. Mainly it was because I had an awesome stage manager that took his job seriously but at the same time allowed us to goof off, especially on the headsets. Nothing especially funny happened, except for the dancers in the matinée somehow dragging their ass on several pieces. One of them they were off by almost a full minute from the music. Aside from that it was just laid back and fun.
Sophomore year I was ASM for a production of Neil Labute's The Distance from Here and it's was what prompted me to start thinking about changing my major, but that's another story. The director for this show, while awesome (if a little pretentious) on a personal level, was absolute hell to work with. For starters she insisted on a ridiculously complicated set. Complicated as in the sense that there was a rotating main set piece, two platforms on scaffolding that were a good 15-20 feet off the ground, a moving platform, and a working pet store complete with live fish and mice. Now aside from the main set piece, all those other set pieces were used for one, two scenes tops. The set was phenomenal and got the best reviews, but ridiculous, and the strike almost maimed someone when the wrong pin was pulled from the scaffolding and it collapsed. The director also insisted on hiring the same fight choreographer from it's original off-Broadway run and this "professional" sound design guy who we all called Danny Bonaduce since he bore a striking resemblance. I use the term professional loosely as he just screwed up the system that the in-house techs had to fix and he didn't do anything that our own techs couldn't have done.
That's the set-up. Despite the complicated aspects of the show, I actually had very little to do during the actual run of it. The tech rehearsal was 12 hours of doing nothing but sitting in silence on my computer. Pretty much the only thing I did was signal the run crew when it was time to rotate the set. The rest of the time I was on my computer and listening on the headset. Two things happened during the run, the first was during the third show I believe. I only really needed to pay attention to the headset for two calls near the end of the show so in the beginning I tuned out what was being said specifically. During this run we get about 15 minutes in and I realized I wasn't hearing a damn thing on the headset. No calls, feedback, nothing and they couldn't hear me. I quickly signal to one of the waiting run crew guys to tell the SM my issue because I don't give the signal to turn the set until I get the all-clear from her as it's a safety issue. I forget how we figured it out during that show since there's no intermission but we found a way. Apparently Danny Bonaduce screwed up the channel that only affected my side of the stage. For the rest of the run they had me set up on a different channel that only the SM could switch to so I'd get nothing but silence until she switched and gave me the cue then switched back.
The last show, which was a Sunday matinée, had the most peculiar thing happen near the end of the run. All of a sudden electric guitar music, that wasn't a sound cue, can be heard on stage, but not in the house I don't think. It completely threw off the poor girl who was giving her poignant monologue at that point in the show. Backstage we're looking around wondering where the hell it could be coming from and I notice I hear it from a hole in the floor against the wall where some pipes are and I realize it's coming from underneath the stage. I run down the stairs to where there is a recording booth (of which I had no idea existed) where some music students were practicing. I'm banging on the window begging them to stop and they apparently had no idea there was a show going on above them. Fine time to learn that booth was not soundproofed!