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A Survey / Q&A

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Dcdjdrew, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. Dcdjdrew

    Dcdjdrew Member

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    Hello All,
    I am writing a paper for my english class on Technical Theatre/ Stage lighting and I would love it if you could answer any questions possible.

    Thanks,
    Drew

    1. When did technical theatre/stagecraft first come about?
    2. Who were major contributors such as Stanley McCandless?
    3. What are safety practices? Why? What are the hazards?
    4. What are theatrical effects; how are they produced?
    5. What is new and emerging technology?
    6. What Broadway shows have influenced and broken boundaries, such as Hair (1969) openly using microphones?
    7. How have plotting, auto CAD programs, hand plotting, and computer rendering affected technical theatre?
    8. What are stage mechanics? How do they work, and what role do they play in technical theatre?
    9. What unions preside over the industry?
    10. What dose it take to get into the industry?
    11. What is the hierarchy of Broadway Shows?
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    There are hundreds upon hundreds of websites out there that will help you answer these questions. I have had to do papers like yours before, just hit the internet. Find good sources. With one more mouse click and a google search, you could find a huge array of websites with exactly what you need. It's amazing what is out there.
     
  3. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    I would like to have a read of your finished paper. But as said, the internet is a buzzing resource of information. Pop it into Google and you're sure to find a whole lotta information.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow ! that's not a survey, I could right a thesis on each of those questions. I agree that you could hit the internet and answer a lot of these but maybe your paper is looking for personal insights from technicians, or perhaps, being a Blow Hard, I just can't back down from a challenge like trying to answer as many of these as possible.:mrgreen:


    1. When did technical theatre/stagecraft first come about?

    Technically, Technical theatre could have been said to have started the first time a caveman used fire to cast shadows on the wall. One of the earliest innovators that you might want to look into is Herron of Alexandria. He built the first Automated scenery and created many "special Effects" for temple oracles and such. What would be considered "modern" technical theatre really didn't evolve until the 16 - 1700's when naval engineers were tapped to create the modern rigging so common in theatres today. Until that time there was no real "standard" theatrical proceses of technical theatre. There were a wide variety of presentation vehicles < literally in some cases> Paegent wagons were common in the middle ages as a way of producing "Morality Plays" and presentations in Cathedrals were not uncommon. There were versions of stages that utilized poles thrust through the floor to lift scenery on. The Globe Theatre which was the theatre Shakespeare produced in was essentially nothing more than a stage with several different playing areas above and to the sides. Scenery consisted mostly of painted backdrops and simplistic furniture, which is kind of funny when you realize that many theatres today have gone full circle and like to produce plays with very stark sets "Minamilism"

    Ok that's the only one I'm going to tackle for tonight. I'll be happy to post more later
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Just to add to Van’s history lesson the ancient Greeks had all kinds of cool tricks they used like revolves, and a crane device to fly characters on and off the stage. I wrote multiple papers on ancient Greek theater tech in college.

    Also check out the Roman Coliseum. They had trap doors with elevators so that gladiators and animals could rise out of the ground. They also had the ability to flood the entire coliseum and do giant sea battles. Plus lots of other cool tricks.
     
  6. tweetersaway

    tweetersaway Member

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    I did a speech on tech and gave a very brief history of technical theater. In my reasearch, I read about a scene piece/special effect built in the early 1500s that was a giant wooden head resembling satan. It spewed smoke and ate evil people, and it took 17 technicians to operate. Pretty cool stuff.
     
  7. Dcdjdrew

    Dcdjdrew Member

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    Van,
    you are correct it is an "I-Search" Paper and one of the the things it asks for is personal opinion / experences from others
     
  8. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    #9

    In the theatre portion of the industry major venues are under the I.A.T.S.E. The IA will interact with the Teamsters Union during load in and load outs. Stage hands will take the production equipment from the stage to the sidewalk and the Teamsters will load the trucks.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Also, in many regions IBEW is used to plug all the the fixtures in after the stagehands (IATSE) have hung them, then the stagehands focus them. Yes its convoluted, and yes I have seen this done.
     
  10. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    There's a theatre somewhere in Scandinavia. Belongs to one of the royal families there and has been retored perfectly to the way it was run when it was built in the 1700's. There used to be a great website but I can't find it now and I can't remember the name of the theatre. Useless ain't I.
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Any one of these could be a paper onto itself. I won't write a paper on each topic in saving everyone else from a 1100 page response. Should you like to refine the topic a bit smaller or refine your goals in the answers that would help at least in any response I might make.
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    2. Who were major contributors such as Stanley McCandless?

    I'll concentrate on Scenic designers, for this one. Jo Melziner has to be considered a major influence in American Theatrical design, though he was born in Paris. He Pioneering work is typified by his designs for Eugene O'neills "The Glass Menagerie", and "A Streetcar Named Desire" as well as " Death of a Salesman" These productions represent a realistic approach to scenery, coupled with the purely theatrical. Probably one of the most copied scenic devices ever is the use of a scrim in front of the house for the production of "Menagerie". Both "Salesman" and "Streetcar" represent the realistic approach more than anything. Building a two-story house on stage was not beyond Meziners vision.
    Ming Cho Lee, While not my favorite designer has to be considered as well when viewing the pantheon of Major american designers. My resident Scenic designer and I just recently had a discussion about Mr. Lee, my feeling is that his Productions are overblown, over produced statements, but they are that, statements. That is probably the most important thing a scenic designer can introduce to a production.

    5. What is new and emerging technology?

    In my opinion one of the most important emerging technologies is the evolution of LED lighting. This has the potential revolutionise lighting practices on many different fronts. Reduced power consumption, greater control over lighting areas, ability to expand lighting inventories for much less expense < not yet but soon>. Digital Sound Editing, and operation has provided immense improvements in control and reliability and quality of sound. Advances in Battery operated tools has provided greatly decreased times that a set need for being in the shop and greater flexibility for shop spaces

    7. How have plotting, auto CAD programs, hand plotting, and computer rendering affected technical theatre?

    For my part Cad and 3d rendering have cataputed my abilities as a TD. The ability to manipulate drawings without having to destroy the originals or completely redraw hours worth of work is incredible. I was never a great draftsman, being self taught for the most part, but with ACad, boom instant Expert, Lineweights, dots and dashes, hidden lines..... all perfect !
    Rendering software has allowed me to anticipate problems way before I get into the theatre. I have an extremely small shop and don't get to pre-assemble most sets, and I usually only have 4-7 days to get final assembly,paints,and dressing done. Being able to build my theatre in Sketchup, then throw the set into it, let's me anticipate all sorts problems that might arise when I get to installation. Now I'm able to address these issues with the designer and director long before I get to Techs.


    9. What unions preside over the industry?

    As previoulsy mentioned I.A.T.S.E. < International Association of Theatrical an Studio Engineers> has an umbrella of Stage Mechanics and Studio Engineers < stagehands in different areas of production, Film and Stage.> U.S.A. < United Scenic Artists > has sway over Scenic designers and in some areas Scenic Painters ( though some Scenic painters operate under I.A.T.S.E. contracts) And Last but not least Stage Managers are usually represented by A.E.A < Actors Equity Association>, though they can be represented by anyone of 7 < seven > different Actor, Singer, or performance Unions.



    11. What is the hierarchy of Broadway Shows?

    Can you explain this ? I don't understand this one. I'll try to attack some more questions this weekend, my wife is giving me the stinkeye and I have to go to the Christmas Revels tomorrow night.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Coward ! :twisted:
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yea, like while well written on your part, I could hope to either A) do as well or most espeically B) provide my thoughts in a similar amount of words.

    Some of these individual topics were term papers for me at one time or another. Limitating to 28 pages or less for me was more difficult than doing the paper itself. This amongst hundreds of pages of notes.


    Nope, sticking to my guns, refine and I might add if of help but not overall.
     
  15. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

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    I remember reading a while ago about the first lights ever used in a theater. It says that in london, the first effect was a candle behind a setting sun of stained glass. The theater wne to having some system of dousing torches for lighting, until it was the first theater to use incandescent bulbs, which were ran off of a generator in the back. The new lights amazed the audience and provided nice heating in the winter time. I don't know the name of the guy anymore. I wish I could remember where I read that...
     
  16. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Seriously I agree with you, and I'm doing my best to abreviate myself, as I majored in tech theatre I also took a TON of Theatre history. I love it, it's truly a fascinating subject.
     
  17. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    Backstage at the QPAC theatre in Brisbane's CBD, in the performers' lounge, there are several displays of ancient lighting equipment once in use at the theatre - quite interesting.
     
  18. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I've heard it said that the earliest stagehands were sailors, as they were most familiar with rigging, etc. Supposedly, that's why a stage is called a deck, etc.
     
  19. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Yeah, thanks to Global history last year, i don't know that you would call them stage hands, but during exhebitions at the Collesium back in the day, sailors were staffed to bring a huge "sail" over the audience to shield them from the blinding meditteranean sun on espescially hot days. I don't think it was dragged over the top of the whole building, possibly just around the edges, but it must have been quite a rigging feat to support and stretch something of that size. That might have been the start of "theatrical rigging".
     
  20. jason0

    jason0 Member

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    hey, I'm writing my english term paper on one or two of these.

    regarding the colosseum, it was a ring that, although not being complete, was still incredibly large. It cast the audience in shadow while allowing the light to hit the center "stage" part. Historians and engineers have still not fully figured out how it was done, and at least several hundred sailors were employed to operate it.
     

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