Be Afraid, Very Afraid

Face Simple AfraidThis work of fiction is based on a true story. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. This is probably happening in a venue near you. A local group have hired the venue to raise money for a worthwhile cause. They have written a show or a review style show. The staff will be performing all of the singing and dancing roles. Can you see where this is heading? Some of the staff are reasonably talented but some are not. Due to the limited budget they do not have that much rehearsal time. The first night you get a running sheets and some notes. You know that you need soem extra gear, such as radio mics. So you have turned up at the designated start time with the extra gear, you meet and greet them all and start installing the gear and setting up anything else that they require, cool. Everything is set up, you are ready so to speak, so you look at the notes that you have been given. You have not been given the full script, just some pages of notes saying such things as :- when Alan says ” It must be so” , they want the lights to go blue, or when group moves around in circle the strobe must be turned on.  Now you wonder who Alan is- a character or the person playing the character. And how often will the group move around in a circle. And heaven forbid if you make a mistake, you will be told. Not their fault really, I suppose, they do forget that we are seeing it for the first time.  The rehearsal has started late, about 45 mins late. The rehearsal drags and people forget to tell you were you are in the show or what you are rehearsing. The supposed stage manager does not once pick up comms to tell you what is happening. They is a lot of yelling instructions back and forth. You need to explain in simple english to the cast that they should always pick up the same radio mic for the same item in the show each night. That is why they have numbers on and we cannot read their minds either.

So the first night you don’t rehearse every item, pity there is only two nights of rehearsals. But the first night only finish two hours late. So the second night rolls around, you think you are all prepared for what can happen – WRONG. The rehearse in a different order again. And again they miss a few items, this will make the next night, opening night, very interesting. You have not seen all of the items still and some of the cast have not yet performed on the stage. We all like exciting opening nights with challenges.

Opening night has arrived. Someone will be on headsets letting us know. The tech is still waiting for a correct running order, but spends the time explaining how to use headsets and mics. Making sure the AV is working and changing batteries. The show starts with no warning, and staggers along. No idea when the MC is going to speak, and agian the show order changes slightly. But everybody from the audience to the cast are happy.

Second and final night arrive.  The crew backstage are getting better at telling the techs when things are likely to happen. But now we get other voices over the comms telling us info. It is the director so we get the same info at least twice. Again the order of the show changes slightly. But again we get thru it, which is is not to bad since there was only one tech on duty. The tasks that this tech performed was lighting, audio and some simple AV. Lucky a member of the show could help with the adio or it would have been very hair-raising. One day clients will realise that sometimes they really should pay a little bit more for extra techs etc. to make their shows world class.


One thought on “Be Afraid, Very Afraid

  1. I guess there is an added benefit that shows like this are usually shown mostly to friends and family – people have such low expectations of professionalism that they don’t notice the horrendous chaos that is actually happening on/off stage. That and they don’t realise just how much work goes into making a good professional show.

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