Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

When it rains…

on September 29, 2012

…it pours.

This entry is really several days worth. No ports recently. I’ve been port manning, which means I can’t leave the ship for a week. Then our sound technician, who was the Tech on Duty had to leave for a family emergency. Since I was stuck on the ship anyway, I took on the On Duty jobs too. It’s not that much more. But then we have cast change. As the back stage manager, I am required to do set ups and breakdowns for the new cast. I’m not complaining about all that. It’s my job. And I like my job. It’s just a lot. I was doing okay.

And then everything changed when the theatre attacked.

On Sunday, everything was set for our show. Everyone was in places, and the announcement was made. The music played….and no lights. The timecode for the music wasn’t being read by one of the lighting machines. We had to stop the show—well, I it never really started. We brought out a comedian instead. And then the curtain broke. When we couldn’t figure out the light problem before the second show, that was canceled too.

For a couple hours, one of the A/V techs and I worked on the motorized pulley, while the replacement sound tech and the light tech worked on the timecode problem, both with very few results. The next day, we went back at it fresh with a couple ship engineers…at 8 in the morning. The lighting technician had someone from the main office come to help with that situation. It turns out that for that, the machine that reads the timecode just flat out died. Apparently, the power has been surging lately.

As for my curtain issue, the track that the curtains travel along was slightly bent and twisted, causing the cable that pulls it to slacken and then twist and tangle around the motorized pulley. First, the engineers rebent and clamped the track together, and I worked for about 5 hours by myself trying to figure out the rethreading of the pulley. It sounds like it took a long time, but it’s very precise work, and there were several false starts. I was wicked proud of myself, especially considering that I have never really officially learned anything about rigging except for hanging drops. And motorized drops are a new territory for me.
And then the curtain broke again. My ego was sad. The company that actually fixes the curtains, SRS, is coming on to completely replace the curtain cables on Monday.

 

On top of all this, all the entertainment techs and staff are getting wicked sick. I’ve been coughing up my lungs for a few days now. But I have so much work to do that I don’t want to go to the medical centre and get signed off, which means I couldn’t do any part of my job.

 

All in all, I just keep being thrown into situations and learning new things.


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