Friday, December 18, 2009

The Set-Up

May, 2009

Tech Day had me up at the crack of dawn — hardly a leap, since I'd tossed all night making "Remember this!" lists in my head. I needed to be at the school by 8 a.m. I had to get the tallest ladder we could find and send Clint Eastwood, a.k.a. Rachel, up to the top to adjust the lamps.

This job should have gone to a father in the booster club, but all the men of the booster club went missing on this day. Don't get me started. I was able to recruit my husband to set up the sound equipment, but he and I are both of short stature and even on a ladder would not have been able to reach those lamps.

I gritted my teeth and looked at the bright side. I had Rachel, well-versed, as it turns out, in theatrical lighting and staggeringly, beautifully tall.

I held the ladder as Rachel scaled to the top and, with the agility of Spider-Woman, grabbed on to a lamp. Using a wrench, balancing on one foot with the other placed on a ledge, Rachel gave a tug to loosen the bracket...loosen the bracket...loosen the &%#(*^@%! bracket....

That I was holding the ladder was preposterous to begin with. It wasn't like I could save her if she tumbled. Rachel huffed and puffed, grunted and cussed, precariously way up above me. My stomach was in knots. One false heave, move, step....

But she did it. Rachel forced those brackets to yield, she adjusted their aim, she taped in colored gels and created luminary magic for our show. Honestly, we would have been sunk without her.

Halfway through the morning, Anthony and Pablo, our tech crew, arrived for a coaching session on how to operate their equipment. Because they are both fifth-graders, I gave them a reminder on the rigorous professionalism expected of them. In other words, there was no time for horsing around. Lyndon joined us and we grouped together with our scripts open.

"Lyndon, look at the top of your first page. I've written: Stand by light cue one. See that?"


"And underneath: Go light cue one?"


We were off. Lyndon learned how to cue his crew and they learned how to respond. We had lights and sound. Bring in the actors. Chaos would reign. Kids, in the theatre for the first time, as the shocking truth descended: Tomorrow we really do this.


I was scared when I knew I had to perform in front of a bunch of people. I fergot my lines but, my friend helped me remember them.
Beth, 4th grade

Spider-Woman artwork by Paul Sizer

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