Mind reading is an art, it is a science, it is Derren Brown showing you the impossible, yes? Well maybe but, mind reading is a skill theatre technicians use everyday at Spotlites. We need to predict what the artistic people (director, designer, actor, lighting bloke, sound girl, choreographer etc) want from the venue they are working in.
At Spotlites it gets even more complicated, for as an Edinburgh Fringe venue with a passion for International works as well as home grown, we have to know what is the theatre vogue across the globe. Our Far East shows are very, very good at surround sound within their soundscapes, the Italians love loud, very loud music, our European shows like to use subtitles and so need clear bright projectors, but need help justifying their text on the screen (justifying as in shaping and aligning the images) on computers without English Operating Software!
As technical time at the fringe is tight – although we give all our companies at least 3 hours of tech time, we have to mind read and provide solutions to problems before they arrive. For example, last year one show wanted to hang a large light bulb from the lighting rig (aka RSC 1990s style) and we predicted they wouldn’t bring enough lighting cable with them we packed an extra 15 metre 15 amp cable just for their show. Is this Mind reading?
Another show about love and cooking onstage made us polish the crystal ball and a black floor cloth mysteriously appeared as if by magic, it saved time on clean up, we also arranged a food waste recycling system. An American company brought a huge set of chairs with them, and our spirit guide suggested they would not want to take them back with them afterwards and our Tarot Cards decided to have on standby a furniture charity group.
We try to predict what is going to break and go wrong – we stock gaffa tape, lx tape, glue, flame proofing, multiple backup devices, instruction manuals, saws, hammers, cables ties, spare bulbs and a multitude of other mystical things from our wizards box.
Maplins on Dalry Road know us by our first names now! We have a sound suppliers that delivered 12 mic stand adaptors within 10 mins at 8pm on a Friday night.
But is this “Mind Reading” or just being careful, is there a difference with being Derren Brown and a Spotlites Technician – they both amaze you with their predictive prowess, but who would you rather have operate your light in a edfringe show?
- ~ Derren Brown ~ The Great Art Robbery ~ 2013 FULL Episode (antonpictures.wordpress.com)
- Derren Brown’s Great Art Robbery: What did you think? (digitalspy.co.uk)
- RSC’s RICHARD II, Starring David Tennant, Comes to US Cinemas, Now thru Jan 2 (broadwayworld.com)