Well I have watched yet another bump out by an amateur company. It wad interesting but very worrying to watch. It seems that people have no concept of organisation and safety. It seems to be a miss mash of everybody trying to help and get in each others way. Then there are the hanger’s on, like audience members, parents and the like that seem to linger in the most inappropriate locations, like on stage.Get rid of them, send them out to the foyer or street, they have no place on or around stage. Bump out is not a socisal occasion. And we must not forget the concept of safety or the lack of it in a lot of cases. Often there seems to be no real thought in how the bump out process is going to happen. People just grab bits and pieces and go. This can lead to a disaster.
I remember a bump out for the musical “Fiddler on the Roof’ done many years ago by a local musical society. The venue had a single purchase counterweight system and management were quiet happy that amateurs were using the fly system. So time comes for bump out and someone decides to unload the flies before emptying the cradle weights. Well it was certainly was interesting, the cradle came crashing to the floor next to me. After I explained to them the errors of their ways, they managed to do it a second time. Errors like this still happen. Often in some of the bumps out I have been watching, crew members are not being given set tasks and they are just dismantling whatever is around. There has been the odd case of people dismantling sets from the bottom up.
The other thing that I have noticed is the occasional crew member drinking backstage. This is a definite no-no, the potential for an accident increases with the consumption of alcohol.
Now I am not saying all amateur companies are like this, in fact there are a lot that do the whole bump out thing in a neat, well planned process that looks professional. It is the other, often smaller companies that sometimes have a cowboy attitude. Also some groups that come together to put on a special show as a once off can fall into this category. They have the right intentions but not the knowledge to actually do the job correctly. We need to make sure these people get the knowledge and that they go home un-injured. I am always willing to pass on my knowledge, but in some cases I get it thrown back at me. Some people do not want to know of safer and easier ways to do certain tasks during a bump out. I have been abused by some for trying to help. Now these people are the ones that we all need to worry about and possible we need to discourage them, especially if the are not willing to learn the correct and safe way to do tasks.
So it is cudos to those that aim to be safe and efficient in thier bump in and out process, you are great to work with. Those that need more work do not be afraid to ask for guidance, that is what we are here for. sit down and map out how you want the bump out to proceed, the more planning that goes into it the sooner you will finish and get to that after show party.