So that one time when someone who clearly didn’t understand my technological limitations made me a stage manager/light board operator, I nearly killed everyone in the theatre, including the audience.
I mean, I know I often joke about how theatre patrons are so ancient that we’re working in Jesus’ waiting room, but I don’t want to be the one to push the old folks over the edge and into Jesus’ arms.
Anyway, I was running the lighting board and had been told specifically not to touch anything on the big scary board but “Go” and in case of emergency “Back.” Fine. Two buttons, not that big a deal. One afternoon we were wrapping up intermission, the patrons were all still milling about in the house, I touched the button to go to the get your butts back in your seats cue. And all the lights go out.
I don’t mean on stage or a few on the walls. ALL the lights in the building went out! Not the power, just the lights! That’s not even supposed to be a thing! I wasn’t even theoretically supposed to have that power! Well naturally I pressed “Go.” But that didn’t do anything. We were still in the dark! The old people were starting panic. And the last thing you want is a bunch of people with osteoporosis stumbling in mass in the dark!
So, I pressed the emergency “back” button. Nothing! By this time, every tech we had was running up to the booth trying to figure out WTF I’d done. One of the actresses had to stumble out onto the stage and shout at the audience to hold still and not panic.
It took four techs to reboot the system. Why did they have to reboot it you ask? Because no one could figure out what I’d done! Really, I say it wasn’t me at all. It was an evil theatre ghost who got mad at one of the patrons, and I was just an innocent bystander.
But either way, it’s just proof that I should never be trusted with power, either societal or electrical.