Sunday, 22 April 2012

This terms show roles!

aww this is awkward it has been a while....
this is a little like knowing someone quite well but you were drunk when you were introduce and have no clue of their name but you have met up again too many times to now say 'errrr sorry i have completely forgotten what you are called' i guess i am going to carry on as if nothing has happened and hope to god that i dont have to introduce you to any one  !!!

so it has been a whole term since an update  - lets see what has been going on .....

this term was  a lot shorter than the others so we have had a lot to cram in.
My first role was as Technical manager for a play called the Maids by Jean Genet. it is loosely based on the Papin Sisters, who were two French maids that murdered thier empolyees wife and daughter. (cheerful stuff)
so as technical manager i was in charge of all the stage craft-y bits of the show which has involved working closely with the construction.
basically i had to

AUTOCAD/draft plans of the set,
lay the stage  ( which consisted of steel deck)
lay the floor on top of that
hang all the soft masking
put up the hard masking ( or black flats)
rig chandeliers
rig mirror frames
organise the seating for the audience and make sure that they adhere to fire regulations etc
attending the productions meeting
making sure that the designer is happy with the look of the stage.
pretty much taking charge of the auditorium and stage.
it was a really challenging role and i did feel a little out of depth at first but i soon got into the swing of things and started to really enjoy it. the team management side of it was an eye opener i can tell you  - there is so much to it that you don't expect juggling but i would say that the humble list saved me from a brain melt down many a time!!
To be away from the workshop was odd we did work closely with the construction department during the fit up and planning of the fit up. When you normally just build a set you can forget that there is a lot of logistics between departments to ensure that the fit up goes smoothly and well so it was a really good experience and i have learnt a lot more about working with in a venue and how the other departments interact with each other during fit up and tech week.

The Maids was held in our smaller theatre (although not the smallest!) the George Bernard Shaw theatre or 'GBS' it is a lovely space with exposed brick work and lower cieling, however, from a technical point of view it does not have a single square of level surface in the place... arghhhhh marking the stage out was a little but of a challenge the combination of the Escher themed space (of so maybe not as bad as Escher!) and that i had only really learnt how to professional mark out a stage the week before and the venue being relatively new to me meant that it took a few goes to get it right! But with the handy rule of 3,4,5 (if you draw a horizontal like at 3metres a vertical at 4m the diagonal that joins it to make a triangle should measure 5 if the corner ti square) we got there!

Once the maids was up and running the next set of show roles was released.
Usually you would have a little more time between the shows to prepare your role but because this is a short term we pretty much started building for the next set of shows after the strike of the previous as oppose to having a week of teaching and then going into the build week.

I was the head of construction for a play called divine words. I worked with a fantastic designer who was very charming and enthusiast!
unlike the maids Divine Words was being performed in our larger theatre the Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre or 'the Vanbrugh'.
The Vanbrugh is a pretty flexible theatre space general layout can be as follows (please excuse the amazingly rendered diagrams in ms paint!) and NOT TO SCALE!!!
In the prosc (obviously the stage area is a lot larger!)

Theatre in the round

Thrust theatre

For Divine words we have the theatre in the round, which meant building a 2nd tier of seating to mirror the  circle (the first tier of seating). Having the theatre in generally is not that common in commercial theatre (mainly as you can see you loose a considerable amount of seating to acting space) and it is something i am not too keen on - mainly from a purely selfish point of view because when a theatre in in the round there is not much scenery! Sight lines and having audience members on all side means designers have to be a little more inventive. Michael our designer did not disappoint the set consisted of a platform with 3 trap doors one which opened a trough full of water, one filled with earth and one that was empty for the Actors to 'hide' in. from this there was a ladder that attached to the circle and a rope - basically a playground for the actors!
i decided to make the platform from steel with ply troughs for the water and earth the top was 18mm MDF with the trap doors (which lifted off ) reinforced with more steel.
Lots of welding to do on this set - i do love to weld - i think it is because i do not get to do it that often plus as well working with metal is a little more finite - there is not sneaky filling the hole with glue or getting a mallet house to make it fit......not that  would do any of those things of course i am speaking purely hypothetically. i have a way to go with accuracy i am still making mistakes but then again that is the only way to learn.

I was lucky in a way because the team i had working with me was the same team i had for the maids so it was a little easier to mange because you know their strengths, it can be a little bit of a double edged sword sometimes after all i am also friends with them and have to compartmentalise i guess the work relationship with the friendship - if you got involved in trying to sort all the politics out i suppose you would never get anything done!

over all it went up pretty smoothly - then again that may be hindsight! After the hectic term i was glad of the Easter holidays and came back to Nottingham for a few days it was great to catch up and have a few beers that are not at London prices ha ha !!

Next blog i will go on about the personal projects that i have been up to!!!!

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