Tonight was amazing fun. Our drama club decided to put on a club-like Comedy Night in our new senior caf. Everything panned out pretty good, with a few minor difficulties. The percussion ensemble was pissed at us because they thought they would be able to have food for their event in the same caf as we were performing in, the woman, however was not aware that there was a difference between the 2 cafs and had signed up for the old one on the master schedule. So they got screwed, but luckily they were out of there before the performance because we needed a "backstage". (The two cafs are connected, out "stage" on the wall adjacent to the old caf. I am the master lighting tech for our school as of current, so I rigged up a couple pars on trees in the caf, ran them to a dimmer pack and from that straight to the board we took down from the booth. I hooked up everything and everything was golden. So, being that I was performing in the show, I scurried off to get ready for our skit. As our skit starts, there are no lights except the evening light from the skylights. So I knew something had gone wrong and the person I set in charge of the board was unable to fix it. Then, in the middle, the caf lights come up. The switches are in a locked snack shack accessible only from the main hall by a master key. So after my scene, I went to figure out what went up. I find that the dimmer pack overheated and the circuit was cut. After letting the whole thing cool, we were able to reset everything and get the lights back up. So we go an turn out the caf lights. And 5 minutes later, the pack blows again. And after a few minutes, again. So we gave up and finished the show with the lights up. Boo to that. So afterwards, we're looking at everything and the pack is burning up, as well as the extension cords, etc. So I knew that crap was f'ed up. And I thought back to our spring musical, where we had to satellites hooked to the same dimmer pack. And we had a problem where the lights, on both nights, were out of control and we couldn't turn them off other than by cutting power at the breakers for the outlet we used for those lights. And now that I'm thinking, if the lights were hardwired and dimmed by the pack and the pack kept overloading like it did, the lights stayed on because the pack was a piece of crap. And if the system tonight almost set fire to everything in the room and overload the wall socket, then this equipment failure is a fire hazard and a danger to the rest of the equipment, and a nice strongly worded letter explaining the age of the equipment and the fact it almost burned down their $45 mill rennovation/additions might be a good reason to buy some new lighting equipment. So I'm hoping to appeal to the BoE, which just had it's budget pass on the first time around might be able to find a few dollars to spare. Hehe. Anyway, tonight was good. I wouldn't proclaim myself a lighting genius or electrical wizard, I'm still learning, but I faired pretty well. We needed one additional light, but all the ones in the storage locker (or should I say streaming mess backstage) were either blown or missing the fixture all together. So I stole a fixture out of an ellipsoidal that did work (probably a technial no-no, but I was in a jam and our school doesn't have a reserve, inventory or any extra bulbs), of course it wasn't the right type for the application, so I improvised. I removed the fixture and had to take the plug apart and rig it into one of the pars simply because I needed a light of some sort. And it was acceptable, no one noticed. Of course, I have to go back and rewire that so they don't toss the working bulb around. Also, I was never very familiar with the board, which is funny because I can crawl in the dirtiest cove and rig up lights without a problem, but it came time after the performance when I had to hook the board back into the system. My younger brother is actually the tech wizard for the board. I basically learned really quick. I had saved over the presets for the auditorium for our performance, which is probably stupid, but it let me learn. But there was only 2- full stage and house. Luckily, one of my friends who has some knowledge of the lights and worked with them for a middle school student performance had penciled the color and location of the coves and stage lights and we keep hand notes of what each of our presets do, therefore my reprogramming took less than 10 minutes, perhaps even 5. So I went one further and set up one preset for the house, one for the full stage, one for stage only, and one for coves only. Redundant? Not at all, especially in situations where equal amounts of each are not acceptable. The former lighting pro for our school probably would have disagreed. But, alas, everything is dandy and I am a few ounces more intelligent. I hope my letter to the board will get us new equipment. Some of our lights are originals. And trying to find gels was like looking for God. I found 3, but of couse it was impossible to find some holders for each, so I improvised and just slid them in the lights as is. And that was my night, great comedy with some hectic technical malfunctions.