Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From The Booth - First Preview

posted by Doug Newell at 7:58 PM

7:01 - My job as a sound designer is close to done. The cues are finalized with the exception of a level here or there. My job as the sound board operator is really just beginning. Earlier tonight we re-ran sound cues so the actors could better familiarize themselves with their timings in and out of the scenes.

7:29 – First Preshow cue. I’ve actually spent a while deciding what we should be playing before the show. Primarily I worried about what instruments are played in the songs and what type of theme/tone they contain. We want to prepare the audience for the world they’re about to enter.

7:46 – First Preshow cue cut. Looks like CCR is a little too recognizable for the director’s taste. I agree, sometimes what fits in the headphones doesn’t fit in the theater. This is a good change, and it’s a good place to be at with sound when these are the things we’re worrying about.

8:02 - First preview pitfall of the night, and I'll claim it. Preshow announcement level was off. This is something new for us that we've just added. Hopefully no one's cell phone will go off because they couldn't hear the warning. And don't worry, I didn't miss this because I was typing.

8:05 - End of cue 4 "Into Scene 1." Nice crowd for a first preview. Not huge, but a good mix of patrons, friends, designers, directors and playwrights. 2 playwrights in the house tonight. Of course Alex Jones, Can Peaches' author is here, and so is Matt Pelfry, resident Furious playwright and author of our last play "Impending Rupture of the Belly." He's here to see the show before he leads the post-show discussion with Alex on Sunday night.

8:26 - So far the actor's are stepping their game up. Nothing like an audience to raise the stakes. Notes given at the 5pm call are sticking. The beginning of the show already seems tighter. I won't give specifics as to ruin the show, but there are so many lines that will leave some of the audience confused as to how to react. Are they offended or amused? So far no walk outs. Stay tuned.

8:31 - Crowd seems to be warming to the show. They're laughing easier.

8:36 - Looks like I'm not the only one with some work to do. A couple of items were left on stage during the scene change.

8:59 - End of Act 1.

9:09 - Beginning of Act 2. Easier to make an exactly 10 minute intermission when there's not a full house. Good luck accomplishing that opening night. And I'm happy to report we didn't loose anyone, all audience members are back. You never know with a show like this, we expect to loose some at intermission during the run.

9:42 - What do you get when you combine a new, potentially noisy, scenic element to a quiet scene? The crew on the edge of their seats. Thankfully there was no noise and the dramatic tension is preserved.

9:54 - Still a few scene changes that can use some polishing. Timing will be something to work on in the booth and on stage.

9:56 - WOW! It would be impossible to describe what just happened without ruining part of the show, but let's say a major plot point that depends on the use of a prop failed! You could feel a big shift in the energy. It couldn't help but have an effect on the actors. They did their best to cover, and plowed onward to make the scene/story work, but what happened was next to impossible to cover. I'll bet I'm given a note after the show to work on a back up cue.

10:07 - Shows over. We've got 21 hours and 53 minutes to improve the show by what we learned tonight and make sure the problems don't happen again. For my part I better get started to work.

All in all, good first preview, thanks for riding along with me in the booth. More from the booth soon.


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