Day 7 2012: How to open a Fringe Festival Venue in the morning.

I arrive at the venue around 9:30ish, grab the radio, check the radio, and turn on some tunes to check the audio system. Then I go through all of the lighting instruments to make sure they are workin…. uh oh. One of the lights is a burn out. Ok, no problem I’ll deal with that in a second. I pull out my first group’s wireless microphone that we couldn’t test during their technical rehearsal because it was missing a power cord. One was dropped off yesterday, and I want to make sure it works.

I walk the microphone around the venue, testing for frequency loss and adjust the gain so it sounds fairly pretty. The first show is a one woman show and she’s never done it in front of an audience before. I know she’s a little nervous about a Thursday noon show and not getting any audience, she’s worried about her lines, and nervous about people liking it. I want to make sure that when she puts this microphone on her head, it’s working exactly right so she has one less thing to worry about, which is why I came in early.

I spend the next fifteen minutes doing the adjustments to squelch, gain, compression, and reverb on it and put it away, satisfied with the sound.

Now to deal with that burnout. Pull out the ladder, get a bulb, and a wrench and up I go. Now I know my way around a lighting instrument, but I’m not a lighting technician during the rest of the year. I’m an audio technician, so the microphone stuff is easy for me because I do it every day. I haven’t changed a bulb on a lamp in about two years. So I’m going slow on purpose so I can remember how, and so I don’t electrocute myself… RIGHT! Step one, unplug the lighting instrument.

In the middle of me putting on the included glove and putting the new lamp in the housing, my radio goes off…

“Venue 2 team leader to Venue 2 technician”

Crap, the volunteers are about 20 minutes early and looking for their chairs, table, and other stuff so they can start selling tickets… I’m getting behind.

“Venue 2 team leader to Venue 2 technician, we need our chairs and table please… over”

I have no hands to answer, so I try to get the lamp in it’s housing and ignore the radio for now.

“VENUE 2 TEAM LEADER TO VENUE 2 TECHNICIAN, ARE YOU THERE?”
I can hear the panic in her voice as I finish the surgery on this lighting instrument. I leave it hanging there open as I grab my radio.

“Venue 2 Technician to Venue 2 Team leader, I’m up a ladder right now. If you could wait for a few minutes I’ll be right down”

I imagine the chaos that happens in front of my venue from that statement. OMG WE HAVE TO WAIT! THERE’S NOWHERE TO SIT! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

“Chuck to Venue 2, if you want, I can go get their chairs.”

Crap… now I’ve got the artistic director of the festival involved… down the ladder I go.

“It’s ok Chuck, I’m on my way now”

I get the volunteer team all squared away, set up the outdoor sign, make sure the garbage cans are empty, check their clock against official Fringe time, as I get a lecture from the team leader about how the Fringe festival works. I smile and nod and assure them that it won’t happen again. Then I make sure that they understand all the new policies about advanced tickets and wheelchair patrons, and then I close the door and head upstairs.

Up the ladder, finish the surgery on the lighting instrument, down the ladder and put it away… getting behind now, gotta move. I sweep the stage, fill the mop bucket and give the stage a wet mop. While I’m mopping, I remember that I haven’t composed a poem for today yet… crap… hmmm…. need a topic.

Oh I know! I’ll write one about the subject that came up the night previous about seeing a show for yourself instead of asking what’s good. Hmmm…. what rhymes with “yourself”… Guelph? Shelf? Oh I know! Elf.

I finish mopping, check all the running lights to see if they are operational and open the dressing room.

I radio in my poem, which also signifies to the Site Technician that Venue 2 is operational and he can check it off of his list.

Five minutes before my first group arrives, I head down to greet her.

She’s already there, waiting.

“Hey JBJ! I had a great idea last night at the Kings Head, so I’m changing around some things in my script! I’m going to add some Improv and a screaming mime.”

… and so the Venue is open and another Fringe day starts, screaming mimes and all, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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About JBJ

John lives in an abandoned toolshed behind a fake rubber vomit warehouse in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada with a squirrel named Peanut Hoarder, where he steals an internet signal from the Kung Fu school next door. He is a little "off". View all posts by JBJ

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