Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Six - Standby Lights and Sound... Lights and Sound GO! (Cue to Cue)

Cue-to-cue. Boring, repetitive, and tiring? Mostly. Important? EXTREMELY SO.

Cue-to-cue is what makes a show flow. It is when all the elements of the show are finally added together. In this part of the production, the actors get into full costume, the stage management/props/set team sets up the props and set backstage, and the show is run with all the lights and sound cues added in. What is a light or a sound cue, you ask? Pretty much anything. A sound cue can be a sound effect, like a car honking. Or it can be music starting, or stopping. Same with lights. Different parts of the stage are lit in different ways at different times. The light cues help organize this process. These cues, created by the lights and sound team, are then given to the stage manager at a lovely thing called Paper Tech. It is the stage manager's job to call cues during the show, so it is very important for the stage manager and the light and sound crew to be on the same page (literally AND figuratively) at the same time.

Cue-to-cue is designed to allow all the tech designers and operators to tweak their plans, depending on the action on stage. For example, if the blocking for a scene uses more space than the lighting designer thought it would, the light cue for that scene needs to be changed so that the actors can be lit appropriately.
Tonight's cue-to-cue was very helpful for everyone. The sound and lights people changed a lot of cues to fit the blocking, and even practiced a few complicated cues just to be sure to get them right.
But hey, what does an ASM do during cue-to-cue? I was stationed at Dog with my script and my notes, and I wore a headset that let me communicate with Jeff (in the lights/sound booth upstairs). Aside from listening to Jeff call cues and discuss things with designers, my task was mainly props. I needed to keep track of which props went on, when they went on, and from where they came. This is so that I know where to pre-set them for the show. The last thing you want is an actor running around backstage frantically looking for a prop that is in the wrong place... Tomorrow I will make prop tables, where each prop gets its own little labeled space to avoid that problem. By the end of the rehearsal my note sheet was FULL of scribbles and arrows and crossed out words.
The other thing that I focused on tonight was transitions. During the transitions, the set changes, props change, and costumes change. Therefore, lots of stuff is being moved around in a short period of time. Theresa, Kyle P., Jeff and I worked together to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible.
After our pstaff meeting, I put away all the props (of which there are SO MANY) and then learned how to "fly-in" the chandelier that we will be using in the last scene. Eric showed me how to tie a special knot and lower the rope smoothly so that the chandelier looks nice when it comes down. It was cool.

Funny randoms from tonight:
  • People on the com system with headsets: Jeff, Jeff, Abbie, Abby and Lizzie. Confusing? YES.
  • Redonkydonk is twice as redonk as redonk.
  • Apparently Cole can tell the difference between heels and wedges in women's shoes. And so can Eric. Everyone is impressed.
  • The Across the Universe music is great, but the Beatles originals are of course better. JUST SAYIN'
  • Eric talks about cutting stockings to cover pregnant suits. Everyone is impressed.
  • Kyle P. attacks everyone with the pillows.
  • Jeff loses his coffee and freaks out.
  • Jeff and Cole run around a column looking for each other.
  • Cast draws funny things on the blackboard behind Dog, then look at me and giggle. I am confused.
  • I eat a whole container of sour cream and onion Pringles. Yay for tech dinners!
All in all it was a good run. We are as prepared as we can be going into tomorrow's dress rehearsal. All thanks to our wonderful tech and design crew. After all, without technical and design crew, the actors would just be pantomiming naked in the dark.

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