It’s January 1st. My first post of the year. I thought I’d start off with a little bit of coincidence.
In June/July of 2007 I was in Oklahoma designing three shows. I posted about the trip diligently. In fact I did it so diligently that I finally told the stage manager about it because I wanted her to see the sense of humor that I had about the whole thing. At least I think it was funny now. At the time I wish that I could just drink myself into oblivion. Which I tried but failed miserably at.
So the weekend of June 8, 9, and 10th I was opening my first show there. Sort of. I had not been told when I was hired but the first production was being opened out of town at a new performing arts center just north of us. It was only important that I be told this, you know, because I had to create two different designs which is twice as much work and I was royally pissed when I found out.
So earlier in the week, we’d carted all the scenery to the theater, loaded it all in, hung and focused the lights. And then on Thursday the 7th we teched the show. We went through the show scene by scene, and cued the lights. We did the same on Friday afternoon.
We opened Friday night to rave reviews. Actually I have no idea what the reviews said. The show was opened. We drank a lot. One down.
We had one more show on Saturday. A lot of work for only two shows. I didn’t have to be there on Saturday. In fact I almost didn’t go. I seriously thought about staying in my wonderful dorm room, watching TV and not being annoyed by everyone around me. I did not stay home. I went to the theater. And everyone was happy that I did.
The evening started as usual. We stopped for dinner and a Diet Coke. We were eating dinner in the hall outside the green room when I saw the technical director stop the stage manager and talked very secretively. Then she hurried into the theater. More noisy than anything, I followed.
What I discovered was not good. NOT GOOD AT ALL!!!
Seems that when the board op cued up the first cue and hit enter, there was nothing there. I MEAN NOTHING. The memory was empty. No cues. No lights assigned to channels. Nothing. Just an empty memory.
Of course I wanted to know why I was the last to know but it didn’t seem wise to discuss that at first.
So we tried re-booting the computer. We tried re-loading the board from disc. Nothing. Nada. ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING!!!
By this time it’s 7:45. We should already be seating the audience. To make matters worse I didn’t bring any of the paper work I used to mount the show. We didn’t need it so why would I have brought it. So I didn’t even know where to start.
I thrive in this type of situation. So I made a plan. I divided up my crew. I sent two people into the catwalks to write down the circuit numbers of all the lights there. I sent two people to the stage floor where they flew in the pipes and wrote down the numbers of the lights there. I gave them three minutes to do this. When I had the information I spent three seconds programing it into the board. I could now turn on the lights. That was a start.
So. What we were going to do…I was going to run the board old school. I would bring up the lights manually and with a little luck and creativity we’d make the show look as close to what it was supposed to as we could. I would have the stage manager tell me what cue was next so I could prep it to be ready to go to the next cue. I told everyone that we could do it.
All I needed was two minutes to pee and clear my head. And a VERY LARGE DIET COKE.
Just as the overture started a very nice woman walked into the light booth and handed me a Diet Coke.
The night couldn’t have gone any smoother if we’d wanted it to.
Now for the coincidence.
The very nice lady who handed me the Diet Coke was Adam’s friend Ruby from college.
What are the odds?
We had lunch with Ruby and her girlfriend in Oklahoma on our way home from Texas and although I’d already discovered that she worked at the theater I had no idea that I’d met her.
But in fact I had. She is the one that made the night go so smoothly for me. I can see the whole exchange right now. I was sitting in the light booth on a stool and she walked up very quietly and said, “Here’s your Diet Coke.”
She was amazed to discover that it was me. She was also told me how awesome she thought it was that we were able to get through the night at all.
Next Thursday, Ruby and her girlfriend are coming to stay with us for a week. They bought us a special surprise which I’ll tell you about next week.
In other weird things: I’m about 99% sure that Adam sold me my copy of the cast recording of Bat Boy the musical. I won’t go into how we have figured this out. But just think if I’d flirted with him then as I did two years ago we might be celebrating our 10 year anniversary.