All that (Tech) Jazz!Posted by Paul Caskey on November 1, 2011
Years ago when I was paying the bills working as a theatre technician I remember a TD saying something like: “90% of the audience has no idea we change the lights between shows”. While I won’t speculate on the accuracy of this statement, I think we can agree with its point: the audience pays to see the talent on stage, not the behind the scenes blood, sweat, and tears of the tech crew.
As the crew is working full speed right now, preparing for BJM’s World Premiere of Fuel tomorrow night (Nov 2), I thought I would give a big shout out to all the behind the scenes heroes whose modus operandi is truly: The show must go on!
First thing – every theatre is different, possessing its own stage dimensions, sight lines, technical equipment inventory, etc. One of a company TD’s (technical director) primary jobs is to make any show look more or less the same in every theatre it visits. When theatre specifications are similar this involves pretty basic application of available resources. However, when there are substantial differences the TD and their crew have to work magic. The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium is a grand old dame of a hall that has its fair share of particularities: the stage is asymmetrical and relatively shallow for starters, and the number of overhead (light) hanging positions has frustrated more than one visiting company… Suffice to say, this venue challenges pretty well every dance company that finds itself on its surfaces. I visited this morning and pros and cons were being weighed, solutions were being found, the show must go on.
People were pretty excited by the high jump pits that I delivered. That took some searching… What on earth does a contemporary ballet company need with a pair of high jump pits? A big shout out to LeMarchant/St. Thomas and Westmount Elementary for lending us theirs…
I guess we’ll see tomorrow how it all comes together. Just remember when you’re watching those beautiful dancers: A dedicated crew of technicians worked tirelessly to pull this show together. I applaud their efforts along with the performers.
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