Friday, August 3, 2007

August 2: Getting closer

We stayed in the theatre until 2 a.m. last night. Dan Hassenmayer, our brilliant lighting designer and Dean’s Award winner from the School of Visual and Performing Arts finally finished all of the cues. It was an arduous task. Working in a foreign country, with foreign equipment is difficult enough. But we had a lighting board programmer who wasn’t very good or very fast recording the computerized lighting cues. A gentleman who runs a large theatrical equipment rental company and owner of all of the equipment in the venue bailed us out and volunteered to stay on the board until 2 a.m. writing all of the cues for us. He was a lifesaver and we are indebted to him.

It’s one thing to design the lighting for a show. But that creative work then has to be programmed onto a piece of electronic equipment (a lighting board or console) in order to make it happen. We have a very complicated show, probably the most intricate of any of the shows on the Fringe. And we are dealing with complicated computerized lighting instruments and video in our show. With a constant parade of shows in each space, groups are given only a few hours of technical rehearsal time. We had more than any group in the venue and had to be finished by last night or we would have been in trouble.

The production manager of the venue, that’s the Gilded Balloon, was generous enough to give us extra time. He extended last evening’s time one hour. And he has given us the opportunity this evening to do a dress rehearsal at 11:15. Again, after the performance of “Puppetry of the Penis” comes down. Sounds a bit odd, it does. My God, I think I’m getting a Scottish accent.

I hope all of this insider theatre theatre talk doesn’t confuse people. “Comes down” is the term used when a show is over. Venue is just another word for theatre. There are many venues in Edinburgh taking part in the Fringe. Our venue, the Gilded Balloon, is the Edinburgh University Student Center. It is the oldest student center in the world. It has seven theatre spaces, four bars, two cafes, a box office, administration office, press office and so forth. It is huge, and very old and beautiful. We are in the Debating Hall theatre. It is the premier space in the building. It was originally a real debating hall. It’s got beautiful wooden paneled walls and high ceilings. It seats 300-plus people, which includes a wrap around balcony.

Oh, the phone is ringing. I am trying to put together a full rehearsal of the show this afternoon. Everyone got some sleep and now it’s back to work. The student flats are big enough to rehearse in and we will begin at 2 p.m. today with musicians and all. I’ve got to go. More later. And pictures, too.

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