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Tonight at Venus Theatre we will have our final tech run for “Zelda at the Oasis”.  Kris Thompson (pictured on the left) has done the entire lighting design.  She is amazing.  John is in the center.  He’s our stage manager and board operator for both lights and sound.  And, properties person.  He has his hands full.  And Ali Daniels (pictured on the right) has designed the sound for the show.

Perhaps I should explain.  Starting in the mid-90’s I vascillated between doing solo work and producing full out productions with gobloads of people.  Back and forth.  From carrying a whole show in my trunk and hitting the highway to renting DCAC, 1409 Playbill, the Warehouse, and more.  Four years ago we landed this modest space.  And I did two solo shows back to back under the florescent lights in ’07 in the very low don’t-break-the-ice-on-my-head ceiling. We have since lifted the tiles and raised the ceiling thanks to the Not Such Stuff cast, which marked the beginning of the 4 play 2009 season.

As serendipity would have it, for the first four years here at the Shack our business neighbors to the left only repaired old theatre lighting.  That was their WHOLE business.  So, Ken and Dan were always there to lend a hand.  Eventually, thanks to a DFF grant, we were able to purchase 16 instruments and two dimmer packs.  We borrowed a board from next door.  This was a long journey because of the West Virginia formula.  You know, watts x voltage = amperage.  Yeah, I had to pick that one up too.  It comes down to a delicate balance of electrical current put to the best and most economical use through an electrical panel (which -thanks to a SECOND DFF grant- is no longer showered on with raw sewage due to flawed plumbing) in a modest space.  When the formula is askew, well…boom boom OUT GO THE LIGHTS!  And, don’t think it hasn’t happened DURING shows. (because it has.  a long time ago.  in a galaxy far far away).

Enter Kris, who can add environmental light and plug it all in so it all stays lit.  She jumped in mid-last year after I lit shows myself, with the help of Ken and Dan and others.  She’s a miracle worker.  AMAZING woman!

Last year when we were teching “Why’d Ya Make Me Wear This Joe?” Kris wanted an air raid light.  So, I found one in this thrift store on Main Street.  Only it was rigged to plug into a cigarette lighter.  The adapter at Radio Shack was 6 times more expensive than the light.  So, I took it over to Ken and Dan.  They rigged an old computer motor up to a switch and gave us the effect.  We then used the light inside of our “pinball machine” set up in “Helen of Sparta” at the end of last year.  I love collaborations of this nature.  So much fun!

Ali Daniels is fresh out of UMD.  She is a lovely actor, singer, scenic painter, and sound designer.  Last year on “Homokay’s Medea” she painted the entire set.  Marbilized platforms in purple.  So pretty.  Then she painted pinball art murals chosen by Joe Musumeci onto both walls in the Shack for “Helen” last year.  This is the first time she’s designed sound for Venus.  Ali has gone through rights on the music.  It’s 1935 era.  She’s been up til 2 or 3 some mornings stretching top hats and pulling up melodic lines.  At last check she created an effect of glasses clinking during 1927 party sounds for a background cue because a pre-recording was nowhere to be found.  I’ve overheard her talking about Charlie Chaplin and which parts of which songs we could use.  She sits patiently through tech, with Kris.  They set levels with John and Lynn and make the aural and visual world appear.  This is critical on Zelda because so much of it is a journey into the mind of the character.

The lights and sound go far to help tell this amazing story.

Tonight, when I sit through the final tech run, I will count my lucky stars that these three people have had such a hand in my Company and in this production.

Kris, John, and Ali, if you are reading this…you KNOW how much I appreciate the fine fine work you’ve brought into Venus.  THANK YOU!

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