Big Gaping Opening

Zach Lipton of SF University High School asks:

So you’ve got about a week before the big opening. How do you plan to spend your time between now and then? Any last minute areas to work on with the cast? Technical trainwrecks to sort out? Do you plan to threaten to cancel the opening? 😉

Funny you ask, Zach, because I am sorting out one of the largest technical trainwrecks I’ve ever seen. First things first, sound is a mess. The stage regional microphones are useless, the wireless body mics are cumbersome, the band can’t get dual output on their personal amplifiers as well as over the overall system, and monitors can only be run from the stage left. Since I no longer have confidence that a student can mix the show without any experience, I am looking for a sound operator. So far, no luck. Three sources (via Tseng Sun-Man, executive producer of Pippin) in Hong Kong have said no. However, if worse comes to worse, I’ll mix the show myself, if I need to. I know the show well enough and have a good enough ear to at least keep things rolling along.

Lighting is the real headache. It was determined two weeks ago that the lighting board cannot record light cues (fyi, each “cue” corresponds to a static look on stage with each change to another look requiring a new “cue”). After repeated attempts to get it fixed, we still have yet to see a representative from the lighting board company based in Guangzhou, China. It is still up in the air whether they are coming tomorrow to have a look and, of course, there is no guarentee that they will be able to fix it on the spot. My fallback plan also has been rendered invalid because the faders (each “fader” is a sliding knob that can be programmed to bring up a group of lights at one time by manually pushing the knob up) also cannot be programmed. What currently is programmed in those faders, and cannot be changed, is useless for this production. So, at a meeting with Project Management, the lighting designer, Tseng Sun-Man, and me, we decided we must rent a light board. The catch with that being that it would need to be available tomorrow. So we are currently researching various sources within China for a plain and simple lighting board. We already determined that we cannot rent from Hong Kong which has theaters and lenders aplenty because of the customs process for that lighting board may take days.

So with a week to go, I have no viable lighting and no sound engineer. The set looks nice, though.