And yet, it is all scripted down to the minute. At 2 minutes in, Timo and Wigasi enter Vom 2 with the table. At 5 minutes, Megan brings the flowered topiary from one vom to another while Gianna and Katherine check in with the cast already onstage. At 6 minutes, Phil and Robert enter and start working the crowd, while at 11 minutes it’s time for the crew to hand out swords to all the soldiers.
On and on it goes, minute by minute, until it’s time for the curtain speech to start. And of course, every person walking onstage, every prop moved from one entrance to the next, the musicians tuning, the chandelier lights turning on as Beatrice claps, and said chandelier starting to rise are all cued by me.
This is where it gets fun. Due to the complicated nature of preshow, one headset isn’t enough. Sure, I have the traditional headset connecting me to three different crew members at various stage entrances. Yet, I also have a walkie to talk with our lovely House Manager, Lathanial, and the rest of the front of house crew. Then, I have a different walkie with an earpiece that’s connected to my ASM, Gianna, who spends most of preshow onstage where the headset cables can’t reach. Oh, and lets not forget about the god mic on which I’m calling time and announcing when the chandelier is moving so the cast clears the area (our illustrious director loved the idea that the audience could be a part of the cast receiving all this information). AND, the cast likes to ask me questions from stage that need to be answered over the mic as well….or in a series of nods and hand signals.
The photo to the right was taken in the midst of preshow on Tuesday night. I turned to my light board op, hands full of devices for people to talk to me, and declared ‘Too many buttons!’
I’d like to say that after doing this preshow extravaganza over and over again, I no longer say information into the wrong device. That would be a lie, though. Just 2 shows ago, I accidentally asked Gianna a question for front of house, which made her laugh incredibly hard.
Yet, no matter how many buttons and devices it takes, preshow is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the show. I will greatly miss the organized chaos of those 20 minutes when the Festival closes on Saturday and getting to watch the company play with the audience nightly. Here’s to 2 more audiences doing the wave.