It is that time of the year that venue techs look forward to with glee. End of Year concerts and school presentations. Any end of year event that books into their local theatre. These are often treasured events of the client but they do not proceed in the way they would like for either the tech on duty or the client. The client is often tired by the end of the year and are also hoping when they walk in the door magic will happen and the venue has the latest and greatest effects and the solo technician can read their minds. Or the classic statement is “can we have what we had last year” – pity it is sometimes a different tech on duty this time around, or if it is the same tech they have done 100 shows since.
We have our ears assaulted on the headsets by teachers acting as stage managers, but still yelling at their students, people chewing crispy food on the headsets, singing along with the songs, dropping them on the deck as they rush off to help move sets or a prop – but forgetting to mute their mic, chatting with an irate mother, or generally bitching about others in the group. The headset does have a mic switch to mute the mic, and therefore the tech does not have to hear anything embarrassing conversations and retains their hearing.
The same popular music track is used a dozen different clients, the quality of the recording vary even though music is digital. Tracks borrowed from YouTube with its nasty compression, phones plugged into the pa with the soundtrack on them.
Dancers standing in front of sidelights throwing shadows across the stage on. Or the classic of hanging their costume change on a sidelight and it slowly melts as the show progresses. People not being able to find their light.
The father built sets that do not survive the trailer ride to the theatre. Glitter and streamers in the lights, drapes and seating at the end of each show. Half-drunk cans of fizz left on any surface that is available. Feathers clogging the vacuum in a quick change over. The left over socks and odd shoes at the end as the clients leaves the venue.
But do we refuse the work these show? Not really, there are often gems in some of these shows. Real talent that is worthy of the hard work we put ibn to these shows. And we also must remember that these could be the future stars that will keep us employed, they are worthy of our skills. We must remember the parents that have spent money on getting their kids train in one or more of the arts. The arts are what separate us from the other animals. So while the shows maybe tedious there is a point. And that point needs our support.