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 Post subject: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 6:51 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I also put this in the Pennsylvania Ballet thread in the Holiday Performances Forum - but I thought it would be interesting here,too. If anyone wants to change that - please feel free to do so.<P>From the Philadelphia Inquirer:<P><B>Curtain call</B> <BR> <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>EVERY HOLIDAY SEASON, the Academy of Music curtain goes up on Clara's Christmas party and the Pennsylvania Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."<P>But the audience never sees the dedicated army that raises and lowers the sets, manages the props and works hundreds of light cues night after night.<P>The Academy is still a "hemp house," an old term meaning that the curtains and sets are raised by ropes.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/2001/12/13/features/FNUT13F.htm" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE...</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 10:00 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>The Academy is still a "hemp house," an old term meaning that the curtains and sets are raised by ropes.</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Not exactly. "Hemp house" means that the linesets are operated by ropes without the benefit of a tracked counterweight system, although they undoubtedly use sandbags to counterbalance the loads.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>Probably the last major house in the country not operated by hydraulics and motors, it will be overhauled next summer as the whole fly area and roof are replaced.</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Not even close to correct; most houses use the aforementioned counterweight system: steel weights held by an arbor that moves up and down on tracks (usually) attached to the wall. The linesets are still operated by pulling ropes, though.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>It's a family show behind the curtain, as some in-laws, six father-son teams and a husband-and-wife pair are among the 34-member crew.</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Nepotism in the IA?!?!?!? Say it ain't so! I'm shocked. Barb, LMC, have you ever heard of such a thing? (chortle)<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>"We've got the life of everybody on the stage below in our hands"<P>- Jack McIntyre, assistant flyman</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Words that dancies might do well to remember before dismissing stagehands and designers with a blanket derogatory term such as "techies".<P>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<BR>"Shang-a-lang, feel the <I>sturm und drang</I> in the air!"<BR>Online portfolio: <A HREF="http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg" TARGET=_blank>http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg</A> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited December 13, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 1:21 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Hear, hear! This is why stagehands hate to talk to the media. They always get it wrong. I can't believe how many glaring errors there are in that article.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 2:21 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Why don't you all write a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer - and give them the link to this thread?


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 5:29 pm 
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Location: Pennsylvania
Cause someone from the Philadelphia Inquirer already reads this site Image<P>I also know from personal experience that it's hard to explain something so alien as the backstage to someone who may not be as involved with it. I had one <A HREF="http://www.postgazette.com/magazine/19991219pbt4.asp" TARGET=_blank>interview</A> done that I really had to explain what to those of us backstage is pretty elementary. It wasn't that the interviewer didn't know dance...she just never gets a chance to come backstage. And try and explain to someone what the theater looks like when you walk in (empty) and that you have to make various plans for where to put things (draftings) and a person can start to get glossy eyed. I was upset at first, because I was afraid people who knew what backstage was like would think I was a total idiot. But then I realized that she wasn't writing for Lighting Dimensions, she was writing for the audience members who never get to see what goes on prior to their opening night tickets. And to that end, it worked, because some laymen in my life suddenly had questions to ask about what I do. <p>[This message has been edited by BabsLights (edited December 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 5:31 pm 
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Location: Pennsylvania
Salzberg, you mean to tell me that you never realized that when some IA folks talk about their "brothers" they really do mean BROTHERS! <P>On the positive side, it is fun to work with someone's dad, and then the son (or daughter), or to start tracing how everyone is related. I think it's actually pretty darn impressive that there are STILL some industries in this country that really are passed down from father to son/daughter. It's something we've lost, I think, in other areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 5:41 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
And don't forget this wonderful diary by Babs:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Diary of a "Nut"<P><u>Nut Load in minus 9 days:</u><P>It's nine days to the load in of my first Nutcracker of this season.<P>This year it is much easier, in terms of preparation of the actual lighting plot. All of that work was done last year, when I was first hired to re-light the show. But I did have to make some adjustments to the plot....for instance, I went through and eliminated all lighting instruments that were never used. Then I also wanted to change a few gel colors (was I nuts last year when I actually thought I would be needing a green backlight wash?).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=../../../ubb/Forum8/HTML/000061.html target=_blank>Much more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2001 9:09 pm 
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Jeff, if there are techies and dancies does that make me a member of that elite group - the fannies?<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2001 12:36 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><I>And try and explain to someone. . .that you have to make various plans for where to put things (draftings)</I><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>What amazes me is how often I have to explain this to <I>artistic directors</I>.<p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited December 14, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2001 5:09 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2001 12:01 am
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Cause someone from the Philadelphia Inquirer already reads this site<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Yes, but does (s)he read "Backstage"? If so, it'd be interesting to see a response. In the writer's defense, it's very difficult, especially under deadline pressure, to assimilate a great deal of information about an unfamiliar subject, pare it down to an acceptable length, and present it in a comprehensible way.

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 Post subject: Re: Backstage at the Nutcracker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2001 5:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
And now that I'm looking at it, this article appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, not the Inquirer (but they're owned by the same publisher, so maybe the distinction doesn't matter too much in this case.)<P>What are the other errors in the article? I'm just curious. Do they occur in the introduction or do you think the quotes are inaccurate, too?


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