Falling: A Wake, Flight Conditions
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM
My name is Stephanie Hurovitz; I’ll be your stage manager and “show-attendant” for the evening. Fasten your seat belts; this will be a bumpy ride. Take off was scheduled for 6pm on Sunday, March 11th. I got to the theatre at about 4:30. We were cleared for take-off. I did my preshow set-up which included a dimmer check that went as it should. There was a small delay on the runway w/ a temperamental speaker. I got Toy on the phone and she suggested I try something on the board and it worked. Great. We took off, wheels were up and I thought we were in for smooth sailing. Then (at about 10,000 feet-between 5 and 5:15pm) I noticed that one of the legs of the side table (a prop, backstage) was on the cord for the lamp. I moved it and had a gut feeling that I should check all my lights again, to make sure they were coming on. I did; they did not. In fact, only about half of the lights were coming up. Toy, our knowledgeable and fearless director, dragged the ladder up and down the stage and thru the house almost a dozen times trying to see if we could solve the problems by turning dimmers off, then on again, to reset the lights. Turning one dimmer pack off then back on, we got half the lights to come on, and the practical lamp. Switching another dimmer pack off, then on, caused the rest of the lights to come on, but the lamp and one light, went off. We powered the board down, (which did NOT result in the lights going off) and turned it back on. (The only thing that turned lights off, was turning the dimmers off.) It was at about 23,000 feet, 10 minutes to 6, when I remembered that there were actors backstage who hadn’t gotten a single call from me; that was also about the time Tara went to the reception in the rehearsal room and announced that it would be a few more minutes and that folks should pour themselves another glass. Onstage, we continued turning dimmers on and off to no avail. Finally, I powered down the board, we turned off all dimmers, turned off all sound equipment, and even cut the breakers. Then we turned everything back on and waited w/ baited breath to see if our problems were solved… . They were not. 29,000 feet: major turbulence; I was afraid we were heading down. We still had lighting issues, but we had a plan! A water landing: Toy was going to stand on a ladder under the upstage-left dimmer pack and turn it off and on when necessary, to get the lights to cooperate. But before we opened the house, we did one last speaker check. Of course a speaker was out. Toy fiddled w/ the board and cursed at it until it worked. Then she took up her post on the ladder, and we opened the house. We hit our cruising altitude of 33,000 feet, and thanks to Toy on the ladder at the dimmer pack, it was smooth sailing.