Upstaged by sunrise


The technician has floppy hair, comfortable trainers and can’t get the lantern on the rigging to go straight.  He also has a beany hat and no job to go to after this gig.  I try to read the thoughts on his mind as I get us two strong large black coffees to keep us focussed beyond midnight.  The get in, that brings all the theatre equipment to the stage, takes about four times as long as I imagined.  The stage is marked with chalk but there is no set and the small theatre looks empty of our collective imagination and I wonder where all the magic will come from and so I just stare at the stoic technician and read his mind looking for inspiration.

The design element of the performance shows up on the flip of a coin.  One minute we are standing in darkness hunting in a cupboard for an amber coloured gel to slot in front of a lantern then with a flick of a switch we are standing in a new place, a prison cell of the eighteenth century.  I was here all the time and yet I don’t know how this happened.

The technician has a home to go to but I read his thoughts that he has to stay and calm my nerves a little so the first night goes with a bang (or rather does not!).  We finish the coffee on the roof top of the theatre thanks to an open attic window.  There is so much to love about theatre but both of us know, from watching the darkness of the late night fade into glimmers of light that nature has the best set.

Putting up the lights ready for our show has given me the privilege of walking in a designers shoes but just when I thought I had learnt a trick, nature puts my best efforts to shame.  Enjoy walking further in your journey glad you are not wearing someone else’s shoes!


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32 thoughts on “Upstaged by sunrise

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  3. Great story. Reminds me of a film we show at work to our new employees called “Celebrate What’s Right With the World” by Dewitt Jones of National Geographic. He walks you through a visual transformation of a scene by showing you the ‘good shot’ and then the ‘great shot’. Sounds like your designer has the same magic.


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  5. Fortunately nature always puts our best efforts to shame… we are so lucky to be able to witness it aren’t we? I definitely enjoyed this amazing backstage glimpse in the shoes of the people that live and breathe it…


  6. I love the backstage vision– both the building of excitement, and the humble setting of it in the face of the sun’s splendor. 🙂 This was great! 😀 Thanks for participating in this week’s challenge! 🙂


    • Thanks so much for setting it! It was so much fun and really inspiring. It came at a great time for me as only just starting a blog and looking for shape and substance! I’m grateful for the path. Thanks rarasaur (loving your blog btw)


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  8. Love this backstage view! Years ago, as a musician working towards my University degree, my music friends and I loved wandering backstage during practice breaks – after we’d sneaked into the closed Performing Arts Center, of course – and we’d climb up the rigging to the roof access and solve the problems of the world while sitting and watching dawn break over the area. Thank you for bringing back many great (35 year old) memories! 🙂


      • Thank you for that compliment! The personal connections we make in this huge blogosphere are the best part of the Internet, I think (other than connecting with far-flung family, that is). I respond to your writing and look forward to exploring much more of it!

        Have a fantastic Sunday. 🙂


  9. I love the part you wrote, There is so much to love about theatre but both of us know, from watching the darkness of the late night fade into glimmers of light that nature has the best set. It sounds poetic and humble, that in the midst of your joys, you are aware nature is still the great wonder.


  10. what a process. The line: “empty of our collective imaginations” is so..imaginative! Belying what it describes. A nice peek into YOUR mind–and the repetition of reading the tech’s thoughts was a wonderful device to show apprehension without telling it. Writing well is a deft dance, and the floor is yours, sistah!!


    • 😀 Thanks for hitting the nail on the head there Karen! It is a highlight of theatre to think of the physical space as a canvas for creative process. You have put it so succinctly in your comment.

      In reality the tech may have been thinking… what am I going to have for dinner! But yes, agree this was a good device to use!

      I love your radio interview over on your blog. I’m thankful there is a large body of your work to enjoy there so I’m having a whale of a time diving into your blog! Hey Sistah 😉


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