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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