Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Countdown to THE ENCHANTED PIG



Ever tried to get a 40 foot box into your apartment?

Consulted with the fire department about that evenings planned pyrotechnics?

Or even wondered what goes into making the magic of a major theater production?

Dave Jensen, Director of Production at The New Victory, shares details of the grueling week before THE ENCHANTED PIG's opening from the stagehand's point of view.
(originally posted February 5th, 2010 on www.kidcityny.com)

Today (Friday, January 29), was a busy day
– 8 hours for 8 stagehands. Our day began early in the morning when we finally received the staging container that travelled via sea freight from London – a 40 foot box. The box arrived on our shores a week ago, but because it took several days to clear customs, it just arrived at The New Victory today. Inside the box were about 170 sheets of plywood, four massive wardrobe crates, and the parts for a big rotating platform that sits on the stage. It took our stage hands two solid hours in the freezing cold weather to unpack the container and move the goods from 43rd Street — where the truck had to park — into our loading dock. Later in the day, the trucks with the instruments rolled in – one with the percussion, one with the piano and one with the harp.

Monday (February 1) will be our biggest day — 12 hours for 16 stagehands plus wardrobe and staff. The Company will arrive with their 10 staff/crew and their singers. While they get settled into the dressing rooms, the crew will be receiving yet another 40 foot shipping container with all of the scenery, props (lots of props!) and the golf cart. Yes, a golf cart. I won’t give away the show so you’ll have to come see it to appreciate why the golf cart is necessary! Anyway, on Monday we’ll be assembling scenery, focusing lights, overseeing the orchestra rehearsal with singers, setting up all the video monitors, prepping the many wigs and costumes, setting up the dressing rooms and generally getting the entire stage area set up.

Tuesday (February 2) will be yet another long day –12 hours for 12 stagehands plus wardrobe and staff. But this time, instead of doing the brutal work of hanging scenery and moving a lot of very heavy things, we’ll be fine tuning the set up. That means we’ll load the orchestra into the orchestra pit, have a meeting about the pyro effects with our pyro technician and the company stage manager, start to cue the lighting, and then rehearse. A lot. Eight hours of rehearsal to be exact. For an opera singer, that’s a lot of rehearsal!

Wednesday (February 3) will be yet another long day of rehearsals –12 hours for 10 stagehands plus wardrobe and staff — but with a twist. We’ll be getting a visit from the FDNY’s Explosives Unit for their inspection of the pyro effects that we’re using in The Enchanted Pig. That visit will take about 45 minutes, and the inspectors will inspect the scenery and watch us operate the effect before they grant us the permission to use it. In addition to complying with the requirements of the FDNY, we’ll have our pyro-technician on hand to keep things safe. After all, he’s licensed to operate these effects by the City of New York, the State of New York AND the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, so he has a lot of regulations to help guide him and to keep everyone in one piece. The pyro effects are subtle but important magic for the show. The first full dress rehearsal is in the evening at 6:30 pm, so the inspection MUST go well.

Thursday (February 4), it will be over. Well, the load in part of the set up will be over. We’ll do the first run of the show in front of an audience at 11am. After that, we’ll be in show mode, just doing the shows and keeping things turning over before we flip this show out in three weeks. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan and that those things that don’t are minor in scale. Please keep yours crossed too.

Friday (February 5): OPENING! We made it, and the show and the theater look fantastic. See you there!

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