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Odds and ends…

8 April, 2009

Had an odd month or two… friends going through various troublous times, and not having any idea how to help, or even really what is going on. Damned frustrating.

Getting loads of work lately, though – you’d think with the recession and all, that theatre techs would be begging on the streets, but even junior types, including yours truly, are getting calls, calls, and more calls. Viva bread and circuses!

Gets to be annoying, though, explaining what you do: maybe it’s all the damn high-school movies, but the notion of stagehands hasn’t really penetrated the general subconscious. You know the sort of flick I’m talking about: lots of singing, dancing, emoting, and other actorly goings-on; maybe even some directing… but if you see any tech work going on, it’s being done by members of the cast, and usually involves painting something.

Even TV shows that have an episode in a theatre are incredibly good at filtering out the crew. If the question of "So, who was the last person to leave the theatre/see Bloggins alive/whatever?" comes up, you’ll get an actor, most of the time, or maybe a janitor. Possibly even a front-of-house sort, or an admin wank; a publicist, or similar.

Stage managers, "running crew" electricians, sound dudes, costumers, the stage carpenter, fly crew, and so on, while being far more likely to be hanging about the place, tending to post-show duties, than the on-stage talent, especially after closing night and during the rehearsal period, rarely even get a cameo. The only reasonable explanation is that the scriptwriter took one look around whatever studio he’s associated with, and decided that technical types are Not Pretty People, thus, unworthy of screen time.

Back to the ridiculous teen-play/musical trope. Every high school I’ve heard of that runs a proper theatre (ie, a dedicated stage, with seating, lighting equipment, sound gear, and some nod to wings and masking), has some sort of technical program. Actors, as a group, make lousy carpenters, and even the multi-talented are generally busy, come a show, with making their role work.

So… yeah… Black is Cool, damnit! Put some damn crew on screen!

Back to the original point… the standard answer is "lighting, sound, carpentry, painting, whatever – building sets? You dig?"

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