Day 2 2013: Top Ten annoying things about Fringe Technicians

I tend to poke fun at a lot of aspects of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in this blog… performers, vendors, patrons, and the screaming mimes have all been subjects of (mostly) good humoured jests on this blog. Some groups have received more jest than others and have even voiced their objection to being criticised.

But it occurs to me that I have left out a group, and it is high time that was rectified. They weren’t left out on purpose, but more because I couldn’t see the forest for the trees…. and I happen to be one of the trees.

So just to show that we are not above ridicule, I give to you

The Top Ten Annoying Things About Venue Technicians

(with a slant from a performer’s perspective)

– #10 They always say “Ya, I did that show”

It doesn’t matter how prolific a performer is, a technician’s resume always has more productions. Even the first year technicians will have worked 5 productions and almost 40 performances by the end of the festival this year. This means that a Venue Technician, especially a senior one, will probably have worked the show that you are talking about.

– #9 They seem to know everybody.

For the same reason that they work so many productions, they know almost everyone on the Fringe grounds, including your ex, that douche-bag you hate, and your thespian idol. They are also Facebook friends with them, and they all subscribe to the Venue Tech’s Twitter feed.

-#8 They look like they’ve just rolled out of a boxcar but smell like flowers.

Every Venue tech looks like they haven’t had any sleep in three years and wear clothing that didn’t make the cut at the GoodWill, but surprisingly smell like daisies. Of course the only reason for this is that they slept in the flower beds in front of City Hall last night…

– # 7 They all speak in code.

All of the Venue Techs have animated conversations about the new flam-bam-light-thang and it’s new interface with the Oblong Theatre Lens Grinders soundy chim-wagger and whether Billy Ding-a-ling’s new company will go with that interface or the Straight And Flat Focal Point Company’s archaic interface. (These are all real devices used in venues, impress your Venue Tech by talking about this issue over beers).

#6 They all speak in numbers.

Enter a venue, and you will hear Venue Techs talking in numbers, and understanding every word:

“There’s a problem with number 6”
“Did you put it through the 925?”
“No I 86ed that”
“Oh! So you’re using a 49?”
“Ya, I mounted it to an 8 by 6.”
“Oh that makes sense, then try adding the 2400 at 11%”
“Ahhh… that could work. By the way, what did you use in 15?”
“An R06.”
“Cool. Did you see the new Oblong Theatre Lens Grinders interface with the DM2000?”
“No, I’ll read it in the 63 newsletter”

#5 – They have more stuff on their belt than Batman

Venue techs carry a complete toolbox and telecommunication arsenal on their belt: Multi-tool, flashlight, wrench, iPhone, Sharpie, screwdriver, spike tape, gaff tape, electrical tape, board tape, cassette tape, GPS tracking system, belt sander, grappling hook, and smoke screen escape bombs are normal waist wear for a venue technician.

#4 – Everybody treats them like Batman

When a prop breaks, a button pops, or a tap shoe gets loose, the Venue Technician swoops in via his grappling hook and uses one of the many many tools available on their utility belt. Although to be fair, 9999 times out of 10000 the Venue technician fixes it using gaff tape.

#2 – None of them go by their real names.

Many Venue Techs are never addressed by their proper names. Nicknames abound at the Fringe Festival, and most are steeped in Fringe Fest lore. There’s the Buss!, the Shunned, Dingus, Wingus, Lady Hoo Ha, Sandwich, Enema Boy, The Mayonnaise Man, Father Time, Mother Goose, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Nixon, and The Woodchuck. It can get really confusing.

… and the most annoying thing about your venue tech is:

#1 – Your Venue Tech has a blog


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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