Road Trip! 'Metamorphoses' goes to CETA!


Active Member
Well boys and girls, it's time again for the (apparently) barrel of fun that is the California Theatre Education Association's annual convention type-thing.

Our school won our division's contest and so we are to show our piece, Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses in 8 days time, the 18th at the Upland High School theater. 1500 seats. Big. We're coming from a black box with about 160 seats if people get friendly.

Sooo... given that we have a 4 hour load in 7am-11am and need to rebuild our set including 13'x20'x6" pool in the center in that time, as well as check lighting and extra sound...

Any tips? I am the TD, but I've never had to go touring before :D We have reconstructed the set as a jigsaw puzzle and plan to load backwards into the truck to let us get it off ASAP and start piecing together - with a cast of 30+ we should have enough hands to get this damn thing together quick-smart.

So, anything I should be prepared for/ask the venue TD about in the realms of light, sound, or "other"?

I feel comfortable with using their sound system for my playback needs, but I'm most likely going to have to reinforce this show without lavaliers - too much water damage risk. We're talking submerged actors here, not splash damage. My thoughts are to put as many directional mics around the perimeter of the set as possible (without having so many as to drop my usable headroom to squat) and perhaps rig some lavs to people who don't get wet. Thoughts?

Light-wise, venue tech says that we can email a plot and they'll see what they can do. Original show had a Chauvet Legend 150R (Yes, I know) for a few special effects; should we bother bringing it? Their bars are quite a lot higher than our grid. Both my LD and myself are familiar with the desk they use, so we should be good there. Again, thoughts?

Basically I'm just looking for some advice/comfort/caffeine right now.

Thanks to all, this site ROCKS.

Would it be possible to practice loading in and out at least the set and costumes of the show a few times even if on your stage? Perhaps doing so in an empty storage building or lot otherwise? Just for the practice in getting the crews to do what's necessary on time and according to schedule. Write up a good schedule and assign crew chiefs with specific tasks and crews to follow and get used to them. One task at a time than come see you, not the whole ball of wax. Secure yourself a runner/assistant so you can stay centrally located and watching it the main part of the goings on without having to get involved or run about.

Extra tools would be nice, but try to resist the temptation especially of students bringing their own cordless drills. Such things get lost far too easily and you loose a lot of time you would be making up for it in trying to find the tool. Much better to use a minimum amount of tools such as wing nuts and wing screws with the basic screw driver and C-Wrench where possible. Otherwise get some cheap throw away hand tools to bulk up your shop tools if it would help. Farm and Fleet as well as hardware stores frequently have cheap tools you would not be too upset about not getting back.

Go thru what needs to be done with all elements of the setup in your head a few times. Walk yourself thru the entire process so you can see where you might need extra materials or time etc. What problems you expect to have.

As for the lighting, if you are about to use a board differing from your own, perhaps and especially if your show's disk won't work on the next system, see if you can rent the other light board and pre-program it. Otherwise perhaps there is an online version that will allow you and or your LD to do cues or at least study it. On the projector/special effect, you might box it up and bring it if that important but leave it at the back of the truck. Consult the theater you are going into about that detail and see what they think.

Finally, no matter how much fun you expect to have, much less the crew a very well placed reminder to them the day of and right before to keep focused to the job and be professional would be best. The party begins after the show. Keeping focused during load in is essential.
Well you have a challange. Best thing I can suggest is what Ship said-to have your folks practice on putting it together etc. The more familiar they are with assembly the faster things go. Another tip tho--when I do load ins that are short, the best thing to do to cover time is to assign people certain tasks to complete that they are responsible for doing. You have a crew of 30--assign them into groups to do specific things. Depending on the set size and weight, you can break some folks off to do lighting prep or sound prep with the venue while the load in goes on. Then once the set is loaded in, have your teams build and jump on 2 or 3 different things--even if they are things that cannot be completed until something else is done--you get that item 90% the way done. Have some folks with screw guns who do all the screwing--this way you know every thing got secured and not wonder if any of 20 different people "might" have gotten to it. Also have others handle all the pins if the sets pin together, have another group set out items and be standing by as grips and hands to hump pieces around to their destination. All this while your lighting folks are programming your cues or hanging specials or ringing out sound or whatever, around you working on stage. When the folks put those Superbowl shows together--it works so fast cause its a ton of crew who have specific tasks they have to perform and they do not concern themselves with another groups work--that is the other teams responsibility. They focus on getting their things dragged out or plugged in or whatever--and everything is pre-set and snaps together--plus they practice it a few dozen times before the show for timing and so all can see where they are supposed to be at what time frame.

Hope that helps...
Thanks to the both of you, it's invaluable advice.

We don't have the space or time to practice the build unfortunately, but we have been drawing up lists of who needs to do what when, and I have a Russian exchange student who's the most brilliant foreman I've ever seen in a 16 year old to co-ordinate the build. I will mention the limited screwgun team idea.

Our board has no disk ;) We'll be entering from the paper cue book. I'll suggest to Mike that he grabs Expression Off-Line.

Thanks a million,

One more note would be to bring as many battery chargers and spare batteries as you can for your cordless tools. Nothing will slow down a build quicker than waiting for a battery to charge. That is unless you forget your bucket of bolts.
A veritable battery army is assembling as we speak. Not only are there drill batteries but a vast number of 9V for the lav mics, should we use them.
as crews finish their jobs, make sure they leave the stage. If they are puttering around, they'll just slow everyone else down. Perhaps they could go to the house, or to a dressing room or rehearsal hall.

Good idea to find an assistant.
Yes; since the crew *is* the cast, they'll need to be off and getting dressed and made up ASAP.

Lots of ideas in my head now, I'm feeling a whole lot better about it all :)

I'll take a bunch of pictures for you all, too :)
Well, sadly there are no pictures that I have... I was way too busy.

COMPLETE SUCCESS. On your suggestion I wrote a complete time schedule, assigned the 36-strong cast to specific tasks, briefed Anton Ivanov on the specifics of the construction flow, and that sucker was built and filled 5 minutes early.

The skeleton crew including myself arrived at 5am to start LX focus mainly, since we were using a Buttload (metric) of lekos (for a 5 hour setup time, anyway). Since I had co-ordinated with venue staff weeks beforehand, they were incredibly helpful (aside from the slightly snide sense of humour in their LX Director) and even got us a Hog operator on short notice to program and run their four Technobeams.

Sound-wise, the venue SX tech was invaluable, rigging six set-mount mini mics, one hanging mic, and supplying a skilled A2 to teach my assistant and help out immensely with mounting 18 lavalier packs. The soundcheck took 30 minutes for 15, and another 10 for three which were troublesome. I had a ball running that sound system; it just felt good to be able to fall back on set mics when the house VHF lavs got fuzzy (which they did) and the sheer amount of gain we were able to get from the set mounts was incredible (having the front of the set a foot behind main line helped).

Light-wise during the show... I was in awe of how amazing the LX team had managed to make the show look - we 'borrowed' gels since we didn't bring the ones we bought beforehand, but everything just looked amazing. My mouth was open for most of the show.

Besides, what better audience can you perform to than 1190 or so theater students and teachers.

Today I saw the best performance of any show I've been involved with; and for our efforts we were awarded Best Tech and Best Ensemble out of the three Main Stage (full production) shows this weekend.

So, a big thanks to you guys for inspiring me to do this the pro way, and not cheap out. I owe you one :D

Hello everyone..this is Garen. I am part of the Metamorphoses tech crew, mainly on the light division. Just backing up Cail, that the show went AWESOME! I was quite amazed at the quality of what we turned out, after all, we had to reassemble over 1 month of art forms on less than 7 hours. All went perfectly, except that we had a Jem-type fogger upstage located near to mics mounted on the sets, and due to a not fully functional DMX line and terminator, it spouted fog evey minute, and with it came an unatural clicking like noise EVERY minute that just bothered me, as I'm sure it did to Cail.

Also, I may be able to aquire pics of the whole precess (set up and destruction), but you guys must be patient because this ucomming week call for finals for me, and also Cail I think.

Thanks for all the help you guys have contributed to this tast!

You were taking photos? I want! :D

Garen was ALD on Meta and is LD on our next show, Inspecting Carol.

That fogger was not making a 'click', it was a 'PKSHHHH'. Not four feet from my up-center PZM. Argrgrgagag. :D
i already did, cail. way ahead of you. 8)

Users who are viewing this thread