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 Post subject: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
Anxious Moments

was our first (& excellent fun) thread on this subject, initiated by bek. i recommend you read it! <img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/biggrin.gif" alt="" />

[Edited to correct URL]

[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited February 18, 2002).]

<small>[ 08-10-2002, 04:44: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2000 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: England
Image lol that thread really cracked me up, thanks for making me laugh so much...<P>I haven't had such funny disasters as you but in panto at Christmas I must have made it into the Stage Manager's report about 15 times in 4 weeks. <P>The horriblest one was at the end of the schoolroom scene where I had to get on a table. This guy had been singing and dancing on it and it broke (the two male dancers had to hold it up till he got off)... but this Birdie didn't notice. At this point in the run I was probably asleep anyway, so that might explain it. Anyway, it got to nearly the end of the dance where I had to get onto the table, and I spotted the Company Manager in the wings glaring at me with Rays Of Fire coming from his eyes. This was quite a normal occurence, I just thought he was trying to burn us all with his magic power which he obviously worked hard to cultivate. So I get on the table and hit the finishing position :O ... The front leg went right underneath, it felt like I was standing on Everest! I could feel myself sliding off forwards, so I pulled up my knees really hard and prayed! Everyone in the theatre was holding their breath, and me too! The cloth had never come in so slowly in my life, I think the people in the lighting box were betting how long it would be before I went splat... Eventually it came in and I had to be rescued by two techies, I have never been so glad to see a techie in my life. I ended up lying on the scene dock floor till I calmed down, I was so terrified!<P>I also got in heaps of times for walking into a flat whilst wearing this teddy bear (ugh) suit, I couldn't see a thing. Twice a day, I would walk into this flat. The lighting people used to love that one! It could have been worse, I could have squashed a small child, or even worse, the fairy (woah, then I would be afraid). I didn't go into the pit either Image phew. However, I did manage to break a huge prop double bass. Erm, let us not go into that one. That production company probably has notices everywhere banning me from ever coming again...<P>Pyros are always a great source of amusement.. er, I mean anxiousness. Having to put them out with water guns is quite funny (as well as dangerous, I know)... also watching the musical dolls in Act II of Coppelia leap right off their seats when it goes off made me laugh. Unfortunately I was on stage at the time... Oh well Image<P><p>[This message has been edited by Birdie (edited August 01, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2000 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 8
Location: England
PS Salzberg... please don't shout, I do know about the different areas and although I do use techie as an 'umbrella term' here I am aware of what these people do and have studied it a little myself! I am not trying to make a point here, I just don't want to incur the wrath of Salzburg Image<P>A slightly worried Birdie. x.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2000 9:54 pm 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Birdie, you're not supposed to laugh onstage during that scene of Coppelia! Image Oh, you must suffer the giggles quite bad.<P>Thanks for sharing your incredible stories. And I don't think Salzberg will get upset, now will you, Jeff?


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2000 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 26, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Alaska
I'd heard that can happen from locking your knees and pinching off something. Is that what you mean by "too long"? Or is that one of those myths?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 3:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 971
Location: Pennsylvania
The last time I used a reel to reel player for sound in a concert:<P>During the course of the piece I suddenly heard on headset "Oh *&*&, oh $&*(, oh my god," etc. and crashing sounds, running feet and more swearing as the music ground to a halt. Repeated demands for someone to tell me what was wrong were met with the light board operator saying "hold on" and the unmistakable sound of another headset being thrown to the ground. The "Go to the back up tape" from me was met only by the sounds of crashes and swearing in the distance. The dancer left onstage (solo...it figures) was still trying to continue her now improvisational solo while clearly watching me also. Unfortunately, she and I were not quite in sync, as in her heightened adrenaline she didn't see me gesture to the curtain nor hear me yell that it was coming in, and she dove for the downstage at the same moment the curtain was coming in. Being as those puppies are heavy, it knocked her flat, though she pulled back before she was crushed by it. She was fine, and someone I had sent upstairs from backstage managed to get the back ups going so we could continue.<P>What happened?<P>We were doing a piece that is 35 minutes long and therefore on a rather large reel. The sound person running the show forgot to lock the hub (the center section on the reel that holds the reel to the tape deck). The reel had fallen off the tape player, rolled out of the booth door, down the hallway, turned a corner, gone down the stairs, and headed into the lobby. The sound person and light board operator were trying to catch it, knocking things over, including the reel, and then trying to rewind it.<P>Mini disc player was purchased the following week....suddenly funds were available Image


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 5:42 am 
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Posts: 1689
Location: USA
The picture of that reel taking a cook's tour of the theater is just too funny!


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2000 8:40 pm 
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Location: Pennsylvania
Foreign country story:<P>We were performing in Hungary, It was the first show that we had done in the country. We had traveling with us a technical person (who spoke no English), and a translator, who had never worked in theatre or dance in his life. <P>We arrive at our first stop, the crew unloaded our bus, lays the floor, and then...off to the neighborhood bar (we found out later) for the day (house crew, not our traveling hosts). The company manager and I say, "okay, no problem...we can run this ourselves" after we are assured by the translator that the crew will have no trouble with us handling the sound and light equipment, that they prefer it that way. So we rehearse all day, write the light levels, and tadah, it's showtime and we're ready to go. We figure the "boys" are gone. <P>RIGHT before showtime they show up again, ready to run the show, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes. A flurry of Hungarian and we seem to reach the agreement that two of us who know the show can still run lights and sound, and we sit the translator backstage on headset with the curtain operator on headset, because they won't let our Hungarian tech guy touch it. There are also crew members trying to physically remove us from our positions in the booth, and failing that, simply make due with standing at our backs and breathing on us.<P>So, we start the show...so I thought. The very first piece on the program has the curtain open on complete darkness and then after the music has started, the lights bang on, the designer's intention being that the dancers are caught in mid air in a jump. I call for the curtain to open, and I hear the translator say it...wait the beats we had counted earlier that it takes for the curtain to open (draw open, across the stage) call the sound and then the light cue. The light cue blasts on....perfectly baking the front curtain with light. It's still closed. I can see the dancers feet under the curtain...they are dancing away.<P>I hear a flurry of heated Hungarian and eventually the curtain S L O W L Y starts to open about 3 feet total....at about exactly the same time that the dancers have stopped dancing and are conveniently all centerstage staring at the curtain and the now three foor opening. So we now have six shell-shocked faces peeking out the curtain, no dancing, and the music blaring. Unprofessionally I shouted something you're never supposed to say over headset...along the lines of "What the $%#&?!?!" And at that moment I learned that though words may not be understood, there are some phrases that are universal in their tone.....and the curtain FLEW open...dancers still standing there but now trying to recover now that they realize it isn't a false start.<P>We stopped the music and started over...sans curtain. AND...suddenly the booth was empty, all of the crew standing respectfully in the doorway and out of our way.<P>That night on the bus to the hotel, we had our translator teach us what would have been the Hungarian translation of my expletive, so that we could avoid needing translation next time.<P>______________<P>And for those of you who care why this happened? Turns out that, as we found in other Eastern European countries, the house curtain guy listens to cues called by the sound guy, and since the lighting gal had said it, he wasn't going until the sound person had said it. Sound person runs the shows...they don't do the stage manager thing like we do, or at least didn't then...I don't know if that's still the case or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2000 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
BabsLights, thanks for this story. I guess it pays to understand the local customs. I am also wondering now if there is also not a difference between ballet and modern dance performances in terms of stage management. Ballet afterall is universal and tradition-based; most stagehands would understand what's required for a ballet. In modern dance OTOH what with choreographers trying to be really different, sometimes things can get a little confusing. Do you agree?


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2000 6:29 pm 
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Posts: 971
Location: Pennsylvania
I would disagree. I think you are dealing with the customs of the house or crew. We ran into a similar situation in Bulgaria. There again, the sound man was expected to run things, like the start of the show. In Bulgaria especially we found that the idea of the stage manager was completely alien in several large state run theatres. When we did finally find some theater people to ask, the response was actually pretty interesting.<P>No stage manager was needed because everyone knew their cues! Had this been a theatre sponsored event, be it play, or ballet, or dance, all of the crew would have been on the call from the very beginning....thereby learning the cues as the show developed. As near as we could understand, this was a result of the old Communist systems of state supported arts. The money was there to have everyone sitting there from very early rehearsals. I'm sure that's ended now, just as the formerly state of the art equipment (Soviet made) was starting to fail when we were there 10 years ago.<P>Wouldn't it be awesome, if we could figure out to have that much financial support of the arts from the government!<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2000 8:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Babs, regrading funding - maybe try Norway. I visited a Modern company there who had 95% state funding. The Administrator was thinking of making entrance free as he suspected that it cost more to sell the tickets than they made form them. <P>The dancers were on Civil Service contracts; they had their own art-nouveaux theatre; pensions. But I digress and Susan will tell me off.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2000 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 26, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Alaska
Gosh, well start another thread - one about fantasy dance jobs! Likely the only kind I'll ever have. Image


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2000 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I saw a ballet performance of a work by Marina Eglesvky in which the chandelier crashed onto the stage. However, this being a comedic piece, the audience thought it was all part of the show. The stagehands even got into the act by coming out onto the stage, sipping coffee and blaming each other. The audience lapped it all up. Funny, how things work out sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2000 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Well, the chandelier was supposed to have been dropped and then pulled back up BEFORE it hit the floor but this time something slipped and the chandelier (mostly plastic) crashed right onto the stage. Both the dancers and the stagehands, being the professionals that they are, just took advantage of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxious Moments #2 thread!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2000 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 774
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
An Anchorage audience was treated to an impromptu appearance by Baryshnikov one afternoon when the video and audio didn't seem to be cooperating with each other. After a few moments of obvious technical difficulty, he came to the edge of the stage to announce it would be a couple of minutes. People seemed so happy to see and hear and unscripted moment from Baryshnikov that it didn't matter at all there was a little glitch in the proceedings. <P>If we ALL had an international celebrity to trot out to make good with the audience when things got rough...


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