Returning to a Passion

This past fall, there was an announcement on the college campus that caught my attention. Auditions would be held for a production of "The Vagina Monologues," and there would be a meeting for anyone interested in participating.

Now, I know that my skills with the stage are definitely not on the floorboards, thanks to my high school days, but I did want to do something I'm familiar with and help out. That's how I came to be the light technician for this production.

It was very different from my college days. Every few weeks, I'd climb 30 foot high scaffolding, crescent wrench in hand. It was attached to my belt by telephone cord because climbing up and down 30 feet every time that darn thing slipped out of sweaty hands.

For each production in those days, we'd hang anywhere from 100 to 200 lekos and fresnels, place gels and gobos and then have the fun of doing lighting tech for a couple of nights to get everything just right for the upcoming ten nights that the Theatre Department would present each show. Then, I'd either run sound or lights (sometimes both) for the ten nights and strike those lights afterwards. (It probably contributed more damage to already screwed up wrists)

No, last night's work didn't feel like it. I sat to one side of that stage and operated a two scene preset board, but this one was electronic. It was attached to a portable lighting rig that one of our college librarians uses in her theatre company. I didn't touch a single light.

The production needs of this show are bare bones, a backdrop (formal set for you techies), four microphones and twelve lights. Two lighting scenes, so all I did was cross fade from one to the other.

I realized something. I really miss my technical theatre days. The fun of preparing for shows, the adrenaline that comes with making sure a show is technically sharp and being a part of something without having to be the one in the spotlight? It's right up my alley.

Last night, I had the best seat in the house. Due to the portable nature of those lighting towers, the board had to be close at hand. So, I watched these fantastic performers from twenty feet away.

They were funny, serious, sad and empowering. The two schools sharing the campus have some women who KNOW how to put on a good show, and have the audience laugh, gasp, cheer and applaud because they were so convincing in what they were saying.

If you have never seen The Vagina Monologues, I recommend the show if the opportunity presents itself. It is worth the price of admission, especially since many productions donate their box office receipts to a local agency that assists domestic violence victims.

Seeing a show that packed a lot of emotion into 90 minutes was great. Rediscovering how much I enjoyed helping put on a show was the cherry on top.

When is the next show?


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