Production week started today. Myself and three amazing technicians sat in the control box at the Pegasus Theatre Oxford bathing a library-esque set in glorious tones of warmth, fear and rain. I always feel like a child during production week as you watch your simple creation become a thing of beauty. Today was no exception.
There is something wonderful about the technicians that work at the Pegasus. I am sure that it is something that grows within theatres’ that produce a lot of youth and community theatre. These technicians want to make this work for themselves,the audience and the artist but particularly for the participants. one can feel their concern that the hard work that the actors (from the community) should be shown in its best light. Literally. I know that technicians employed to work with a company on a show invest this much effort into getting shows to look great and run smoothly, but I am just one director in many that this team has to work with in a season, plus, this team rarely get the acknowledgement that they deserve.
So when I arrived today I was overjoyed that hours of preparation had already taken place, not only in rigging lights and building the set but in terms of editing videos and…(this is my favourite now) filming a fish tank loaned from the fish shop up the road filling up in the theatre shower in order to create a rising water level projection that plays whilst the library sinks. The sound technician had found and mixed several different types of rain and thunder so as to increase tension in the play.
The last incredible fact in this moment of excitement (heightened by pre production fear and lack of sleep – I never sleep during production weeks and it does NOTHING for me looking like the glamourous creative that I am….) is that the show will be stage managed and operated by the youth technical team aged between 11 and 16. Some of the cues are split seconds away from each other, the set has over 500 books included in it and two of the actors backstage have special needs and will need constant cuing and calming. This show would test any technician. By the end of our light, sound and projection plotting session the lighting box was littered with my apologies for the technical monster I had created.
Tomorrow the actors arrive on set and will add another joyous layer to it all. I can’t wait.
To the technicians at the Pegasus Theatre Oxford, Nomi Everall, Dave Thwaites, Natasha Godwin and James Ball, I salute you. You rock and you deserve more chocolate biscuits than I have time to create.