What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Lazy Light July 8, 2015

Remember that time they made me a Stage Manager and the lights refused to work? No? That’s okay. I do.

I was stage managing at a theatre where the Stage Manager also ran the light board. I am in no way qualified to be a Stage Manager or to operate a light board. But I was an intern, and they said jump. So I jumped my happy little butt into the lighting booth, script in hand to run the show. Really, all I had to do was press “Go” whenever the lights were supposed to change. The problem was if anything went wrong, I was screwed! I didn’t know how to fix anything!

We had one fancy light that could move. It was preprogrammed to travel its light beam across the stage, so as long as the actors stuck to their blocking, they would be in light.

But the fancy light started getting a little off. I put it in my report, but I don’t think anyone believed me. Because the light started drifting down so the two actresses in the show had to move further toward the edge of the stage to be in the light. I reported the broken light again, saying that I was really, really sure something was wrong with it.

Still nothing.

The next day, as one of my two ladies was in the middle of a dramatic monologue that had something to do with the meaning of friendship or music or something really deep, the lights started to drift down. She followed her light like the awesome actor she is. But the light kept moving her farther down stage and farther stage left. If I had been a real lighting person, I would have been able to bring up another light on her, but all I knew how to do was press “Go,” which would have turned out ALL the lights on stage.

So she kept talking and following her light until she ended her monologue sitting on the edge of the stage as far as she could go stage left leaning out into the audience so her face was still lit while I leaned out the lighting booth window shaking my head to tell we had no paddle for this creek. All I could do was press “Go.”

When she finished speaking and crawled back up on stage, we went to the black out and continued with the show. They fixed the light that night. It had lost a screw or something like that.

But they didn’t fix the real problem. Me. And it only got worse.


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