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Everything Works, Until It Doesn’t

June 9, 2014

We all know the drill: You rehearse for weeks and weeks to put on this amazing production that truly showcases the collaboration between Actors, Directors, and Designers, and then the show opens and its beautiful and wonderful! While most of the time, things go off without a hitch, but there are always those times when everything seems to go wrong, especially when dealing with the technical side of things.

In my case, I have to run 5 shows a day, so the chances that things are going to break during the show are pretty high, and it’s when these things break that things get interesting. You can check lights and sound however many times you want to before a show begins, but its when things break in the heat of the moment, when the Followspot on the lead singer goes out during her big number, or when that quick change doesn’t go exactly as rehearsed, that’s when the collaboration truly shines. Its always when things go wrong that everyone begins to think on their feet, and they begin to work together.

As a designer, I’ve seen these mishaps happen numerous times, and its not always the technician that ends up fixing every technical problem. Just recently, I was in the middle of a show, when our female lead had her mic go out mid-performace. We couldn’t hop on stage and give her a new microphone, so we had to watch in horror as she sang, but no sound was heard. That was when the rest of the ensemble banded together to work the problem out! One of the male singers took over her section of the song while she ran off stage for a quick fix, and all of the dancers adjusted to the new performance. When the female lead returned, everything was back to normal, and the show still went on.

Sometimes the problems are a little more technical, and they don’t always have a happy ending like that one. A couple times we have had to cancel shows because the technical aspects were so out of whack that we couldn’t fix them in time for house to open. As hard as we may try, not everything is going to go according to plan, but its when it does, and the Actors and Technicians work together to save even a moment of the show, that everything works (even though its not).

Do you guys have any awesome stories of teamwork and collaboration? Feel free to share!

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