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Questionable traditions in educational theatre.

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by gafftapegreenia, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Logos I was involved with an amateur production where they brought in a stuffed cat and it was somewhere different on the set each performance. I countered by getting a really realistic looking stuffed mouse and parked him whichever way the cat appeared to be looking.
    Edit: Now that you've got me thinking, our shop built a production of "How To Succeed In Business." Opening out of town in San Jose, California with Mathew Broderick as J. Pierpont Finch. We built a hardware box approximately 2 feet square with approximately 12 divisions per layer by 3 layers deep. After we had all of the hardware packed neatly into its individual sections, we had two unused compartments. We filled the void in the middle level with a realistic looking stuffed mouse and the empty compartment in the lowest level with a mouse trap baited with cheese. We heard the university students in San Jose loved it and added the mouse to the window washers' scaffold Mathew Broderick entered on at the top of the show. We were told Mathew liked the mouse as well and that the mouse went with Mathew and the scaffold all the way to Broadway.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
    Jay Ashworth likes this.
  2. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Very cool. On a totally different subject, one Pantomime I worked in the UK gave away bright pink plastic umbrellas during the audience iparticipation sequence. They seriously over ordered the umbrellas and despite almost every kid in the audience on the last night leaving with one we still had about a hundred left. We started giving them to the crew of touring shows, one to each show. The deal was that they dropped them off at another venue and asked the crew to send them on their way with another show. About 8 years later iback in good old Oz I toured a show to Darwin (very hot far north) and was on our last night given one of the umberellas with an almost accurate telling of the story. I must admit I kept it and its here in my study. I now wish I had asked for people to sign the damn things with the name of the venue so I could tell where it had been and how it went from UK to Australia apparently via the US.
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Logos I have a very similar tale of a portable, floor-standing, hinged door frame and door, complete with functioning latches and all hardware, which rolled into our larger (2,183 seat) road house with a touring show. The production had a couple of box sets for different acts and also played some scenes against flown drops with portable doors standing in appropriate cut-outs. They had one too many of their portable doors and left one behind in our interior truck dock when they departed. The door and frame were very well built and finished having been constructed in England. Anytime we could stuff the errant door in one of some touring show's multi-trailers, we did. Darned if it wouldn't travel across Canada and wind up back in our dock at the end of their cross-country, or cross North American, tour. It became a game. As you suggested, various carps and IA locals started signing the door and stuffing it in somebodies truck. I was assistant sound and LX from 1973 when the venue opened until I moved on to become the IA head of sound in Canada's Stratford Shakespearean Festival early in 1977. Every now and again I'd hear from one of my Hamilton IA buddies that the door had rolled through again.
    Swerving back to your "bright pink plastic umbrellas". During my installation days, I was tasked with a project where I had to sabre-saw and / or sawz-all a number of approximately 10" diameter holes in an auditorium's finished wooden acoustic ceiling panels. Cutting the holes wasn't going to be bad but cleaning up all the sawdust from the upholstered seats about fifty feet below was going to take a lot of time.
    Here's what worked: Reached out below the finished ceiling from an LX catwalk with a large plastic bucket and bored a neat hole with a 1" auger from above. All of the falling debris was neatly captured within the bucket. My employer brought in his young daughter's gaudily coloured plastic umbrella. We lowered a hand-line through our 1" hole and he inverted his daughter's plastic umbrella and secured it to our hand line. We then pulled the umbrella up 'til it was just short of touching the finished side of the ceiling and secured it there by tying the hand-line to our cat walk's hand rail. Then we proceed to cut our larger hole with All of the debris being captured and contained in the umbrella after which we lowered the loaded umbrella back down to floor level and emptied it into a large, plastic, refuse container. Worked like a charm. Played the same game hole after hole for several days and eventually returned the undamaged umbrella to its young owner. Clean up went from a major concern to a non-issue. A few years later we had a similar install in another building and the general contractor looked at us strangely when he saw us loading in our gear, including some very expensive Hilti tools AND the same little kids toy plastic umbrella. We eventually showed the general contractor how the umbrella fit in our operation. He laughed loudly but was impressed by its effectiveness. Whatever works.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  4. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    I've occasionally left a "Hi!" note in a drawer or such.
     
  5. tjrobb

    tjrobb Active Member

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    In our community theatre there are a few basic rules. Audience can't see it, it can't impact the show, and the SM must allow it. Simple, effective.
     
  6. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @tjrobb In the same vain / vein, one of our amateur groups used to have a rather well endowed British lady who used to print rude comments in her cleavage for the entertainment of her male company members. She'd often flash her cohorts just prior to an important speech and see if she could catch them. It was always additional entertainment from the booth. Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  7. Fountain Of Euph

    Fountain Of Euph Active Member

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    All we did in HS was sign a air duct in the coves... My frat in collage used to pull the E-Stop on the elevator and then pry the doors open and sign the shaft. No A-- plates required
     
  8. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Well, since we are comparing pranks now...

    In college, a couple of my classmates and I stole an orange traffic barrel off the street in town and hauled it up to the grid in the theatre. It took weeks for anyone to notice. Not sure what happened to it after I graduated... We had some other rituals/rites of passage that I have no idea if they still go on, some were department-wide, some were just tech and design.

    In the professional world, I had the *pleasure* of working on the first regional production of Les Mis. Suffice it to say, when you are 80+ performances into a run, strange things happen. We ended up with over 100 green army men hidden all over the set, carefully placed to ensure they were out of sightlines. We had a window overlooking my console that became known as "the acting window." Every night as the cast entered for the Thenardier scene, we pulled a theme out of a hat and as each cast member came down the stairs by the window they had to act out that theme through the window to the crew. Of course they also had to keep it in character.
     
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  9. theview

    theview Member

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    Can I ask where you are working? I am in the area too.
     

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