Thursday, May 22, 2014

Six Simple Rules for Dating My Theater

6) Leave time to clean up. And not "just enough time to shove the tools under a platform along with all the wet paint brushes and a bunch of sawdust." Enough time to dummy check the set and make sure you remembered to fasten the platforms and stair units back down again, enough time to find the loose hardware that will otherwise find itself in an actor's flesh. And enough time so the tool or part you quickly shoved into a box then crammed into a crawlspace so you could get the stage ready doesn't end up staying there, lost, for the next two years.

5) Do not work over heads. So someone didn't leave enough time to get the gels into the front lights? That's someone else's problem. It doesn't justify dropping things from the grid on to the heads of your innocent cast.

4) NO FOREARM COILS. Either learn how to coil cable properly, or get someone else to do it. One hasty coil puts kinks in a cable that takes a dozen good coils to get back out. And every badly-coiled cable costs time, usually time right where it is needed the most (aka at five minutes before sound check).

3) Don't cut the grounding pins off electrical equipment. The moment you cut that pin off, you should be asking yourself; "If it is important for this piece of equipment to be grounded, why am I trying to put it into a piece of lamp cord, a cheap Wallmart's extension cord, or an unrated household outlet?"

When I see the grounding pin cut off, I take out my knife and cut the entire plug off. That extension cord will not be used until someone re-wires it. Correctly.

2) 45-Degree Rule: I'm too much of a realist to believe it is possible to ban all food and drinks from the light and sound booths. But I will demand that when you pick up a cup of coffee, it NEVER passes over the board. My personal rule is that it never gets above an imaginary 45-degree angle drawn from the control surfaces.

Potato chips and candy? Don't. Eat those snacks OUTSIDE the booth, and WASH YOUR HANDS before you re-enter. I'm still in the process of trying to clean off some bump buttons on our Expression console where some chocolate-fingered numbnuts got them all glued to each other.

1) NO DUCT TAPE! If I see a roll inside a theater, it will go into the trash. Use gaffer's tape for those places where you must.

And for pity's sake...out of all the horrors of duct tape, the most excrescent are those committed by callously incompetent nincompoops who use it TO MARK SOUND BOARDS.

Oh, and because it is so important it deserves a place all of its own....

If you say to me you are intending on flying an actor in the next production, one of the next six words out of your mouth had better be "Foy." Or the equivalent professional organization.

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