Sunday, 15 August 2010

The theatre

It's been a while since I've been involved in a theatre production, so I was excited when a good friend of mine became the music director in a production of the play "Saviour of the World" for the Toronto Stake. Auditions and Rehearsals were this past January, which meant I couldn't really be too involved (being that I had only given birth in the end of December!). But she knew I was eager to be involved in some way, and so she asked if I would run the sound cues. I was able to jump into the show in July and only needed to attend 4 or 5 rehearsals before the two week show run began.

In the past, Lori always ran the sound cues and sound board on her own, while conducting the cast in their songs also. But this show was fairly intensive in its demands, including 21 personal cast mics, 6 stage mics, song and sound effects and voice over cues, plus a 12 piece orchestra. So Lori needed some help. She enlisted someone to run the levels on the sound board, and myself to run the two computers that held all the sound files.

It was a crazy two weeks of shows. Running the music off of my laptop was not too bad. Lori and I had to coordinate the start of each song, as the orchestra was playing along with a pre-recorded score. The challenge in this is that there is zero latitude in tempo - you can't slow down the song if someone misses a cue or messes up - the show must go on! Running all the sound effects off of Lori's computer was were the trouble occurred. First of all, I use a Mac and she has a PC, which meant getting used to new programs, interfaces, and most difficult - the mouse.

The precision this job called for had little room for error. The voice-overs were lines in conversation, which meant they had to be delivered in relation to the actors. Then there were times when I had music and voice over and sound effects all being played at the same time. I had two notably tough shows. These were ultimately most frustrating because I was dealing with computer issues, not my own inability to time the sound cues. I hadn't realized that Lori's computer was set up with a "double-tap" clicking option on her laptop mouse (my computer doesn't have this function). So there were two shows during which the voice-overs came at the wrong time. The double-tap option apparently has lots of issues, including "clicking" on its own when you don't want it (which is what happened!) Even knowing that it wasn't anything I did, I still drove home after those shows stewing. I like to do a good job on things and I was boiling about the situation.

Once I finally realized what was going on (when a voice-over jumped on while I wasn't sitting at the computer!) and hooked up an external mouse, everything was a-okay. The rest of the shows went smoothly with no mistakes.

Ahhh. I think I just needed to get that all out of my system.

Being involved in this show was amazing. The director and music director and several of the actors are all professionally trained in their craft, which meant an amateur church production had a high level quality to it. Beyond that, the message of the show was inspiring to the thousands of people able to take in the show. Being back in the theatre was neat; being involved in sharing the message of God's love took the experience beyond. There is something about music...about all the arts...that reaches into our spirits and touches our hearts deeper than ordinary conversation. It's a level of communication that leaves a much more lasting impression, which is why I have such a love for art.

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