Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

Doctor Who?

So, I recently go caught up on the entire reboot of Doctor Who. I instantly fell in love with the series. I now have TARDIS earrings, and I found a couple things around my current life that remind me of the good Doctor.

A Bahamian Police box:

Bahamian Police Box


When I work with certain chemicals, I have to wear this complicated face mask:


Are you my mummy?

I know it’s kind of a stretch, like my Hogwarts post…but I’m a full believer in the fact that you can find fandom everywhere. Even at work.

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A right pain in the…



I bruised it at some point. It’s a pain to bend over, pick something up, or cough…all of which I’ve been doing a lot recently.


Meanwhile, we had a special cruise chartered by a company called BlueStar. They sell sales technologies. The talks and workshops were fairly boring. The set up started out quite hectic. We were given information as we went, and as a tech team we rose to each occasion. It’s been a long three days, but they seemed to like us in the end.

Also, I was asked to make a schedule and color code it. I color coded the shit out of it:

It didn’t print out very well in black and white


The new cast is very nearly ready, so there shouldn’t be very many more rehearsals that I have to attend. That means I’ll finally be able to enjoy the ports more often.

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When it rains…

…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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Identify yourself.

One thing I cannot get used to is having to wear my name tag every time I step out of my cabin. I keep forgetting, and sometimes I don’t want to put a pin though my clothes. I’m especially forgetful when I’m just running up to grab food from the crew mess. And during the shows I have to take off my name tag, so it doesn’t fall off on stage while I’m working.

And the ID cards are required for entering and leaving the ship, getting paychecks and portmanning.

The last ID I just got was my Pryotechnics card! Level 3 or something. It’s pretty cool.

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Solo at sea.

This is my first cruise without the person I was replacing. I was so nervous that I called a tech run, which actually went pretty well. The actual show went pretty well too, except I raised one of the curtains too early, but luckily everything behind it was set, and the backdrop pretty much matched the tone of the song being sung. All in all, it could definitely have been worse. I feel better about being on my own now. I already have a few repairs to do that I didn’t notice before. But now, I can start to relax into a routine.

And speaking of relaxing, I have volunteered to be a spa model for embark days. This means that in exchange for letting people walk in on the session (with everything including my face covered, of course), I get a $200 treatment for free. it wasn’t entirely relaxing, but I felt pretty good afterwards. I don’t know many details about what it does, but there are electrodes and algae. And if I keep doing it, I’ll have a six pack by the end of the contract. I’m okay with that.

Because of the tech run, I did not spent time in Nassau. I’ll have to explore next week.

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First test

Yesterday was the first time I did one of the shows (almost) by myself. There were a couple moments where I froze, and my (for lack of a better word – he’s the person I’m replacing) boss asked “what’s next?” and I said “I dunno!” and rushed to my cue sheets. There are some times where I tried to rush, but there was nothing to do, and other times where I was caught off guard about what I was supposed to do. Several things went wrong with the show that I could not have prevented, like people getting injured during the show. Luckily we are having a tech rehearsal this week. Just for me!

I’m realising now how much I need paper photographs. My side of the room is woefully bare, while my roomie has many photographs all over. I’m sure I’ll collect post cards and pictures along the way. Pretty much all I have is a photo of Frank and me from our senior prom, and I just bought a tiny painting from Key West, and a Jimmy Buffett magnet…

I had crowd control training today, so not much time for Cozumel. I’m coming here next week to go to the beach and some shops.

I also need some new music. Comment with suggestions?

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