Hello again my darlings,
Hope you are having a lovely night. I am backstage at the Jubilee — surprise, surprise — but this time, on OPENING NIGHT! We opened the show to a sold out audience tonight and I’m so thrilled with how everything turned out!
A week ago today we were working on getting the show up and our crew was working hard to get everything in place and in working order. We had to set up the portals, the forest, the palm trees, the snake drop, the pyro shots, the wall of fire, and make final alterations on the incredible costumes and so much more. Our team pulled it together and when I saw the show on both Wednesday and Thursday night’s dress rehearsals, I was truly blown away with how beautiful everything looked. It’s been such a fantastic experience so far, and I’m really looking forward to next year’s production of Carmen, which will be our next build. But now, onto tech week..
We all met at the Jubilee at 8:30 on Friday and started unloading the trucks and making this dream a reality. Clayton got right into action, sending pieces here there and everywhere. Whenever we come to the Jubilee, we don’t only have the show to bring with us, but a whole trailer full of crates for each department to be able to do their jobs. For example, Clayton and I each have a work crate that sits on the side of the stage so that we can work and still observe what is going on — of course, that’s more him than me; mine is close by so people can find me to go run errands for them. Then of course Wardrobe has their work crates which contain literally everything a person could ever need to build a costume; Lighting has their 4 big ol boxes that we use as both storage and a work station to a certain degree; Carpentry has a couple different crates that include office crates for both Greg and Geoff as well as a couple storage boxes containing what they need to make an final adjustments to the set and repair work; Props has a crate filled with all of their work stuff and they actually get their own little workshop when we’re here; finally there are wigs and make-up who have their own custom made crates that I’ll have to show y’all one day. There’s lots of little compartments to house all of their stuff, and the make-up one is a sweet leopard print pattern!
A view I don’t get very often, so I took the time to commemorate it!
While the trucks unload, the ELEX department gets started on putting the lights they need on stage before the carpenters come in and take up all the space setting up. They fly the pipes in from the fly tower and set up what they need before flying it back out. Once they cleared the deck, our carp team worked on getting the portals assembled and up into the air. Each pair of two gets smaller as they go upstage (towards the back of the stage) and they all have their own color code (thank you) that matches the hockey bags containing their fabric. This makes it easier for us when setting up, but also when we loan it out to other opera companies in the future. Anyways, here is a photo of them setting that shiz up.
I believe this photo was taken right as everyone left for lunch or dinner break. As you can see the panel is assembled, covered in fabric and ready to be flown and tracked.
Once the panels were up in the air, we started to work on the other elements on the show — the sun, forest, rocky stairs and palm trees. The sun is a gigantic spiky flat that flies in at the end of the show to symbolize the destruction of the Queen of the Night (Sorry Teiya..) and the grandeur of the piece really comes across when it comes down from the grid and into the sea of yellow/ombre robes that the chorus members wear throughout the show.
How gorgeous is that?! Photo by Nanc Price.
Once the set is up, we move into ELEX Focus and then setting the lighting cues for the show. Bretta Gerecke who is our set designer is also the lighting designer for the show. She worked with Alison Hardy (head of Lighting), Bud Race (Asst. Head of Lighting) and Kevin Humphrey (Jube Lighting Tech) to get her show all sorted out. She wanted to have a water-lighting element in the show and Alison worked tirelessly all week to accomplish this. She started by lining the inside of the boxes built for us by our Asst. Head Carpenter, Kathy Cooper, with pool lining and a black thick plastic sheet to ensure no water would be leaking out, causing us some serious headaches down the line. Greg then installed some handles on the boxes and she got to work on her ‘mirror pizzas’ which are essentially a collage made from square bits of mirror. These sit in the water and when the filters start and the lights shine on the boxes, they create this beautiful reflection that looks like running water. It’s quite beautiful and looks much more realistic than using a gobo — well at least any gobos I’ve seen.
We bought four kiddie pools for this project.
Here we have Alison and Clayton moving the lamps so that they hit the pools in the right place.
Alison also worked alongside Chantel Fortin, our head properties gal to put together the magic bells for Papageno. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of that on my camera, so stay tuned for an upcoming post that explores the world of props in more detail.
Up next, we have the FIYYYA. I think this is probably the element that had everyone the most excited for. It is no small feat to bring in a pyrotechnician and lucky for us at Edmonton Opera, our Head Stage Carpenter (and my former instructor), Geoff Bacchus, is a certified pyro expert (pretty sure he has a fancier title but i’m sticking with that). He has all of his own equipment and a lot of experience in dealing with both pyro and fire (and fireworks too!), so he worked within the budget and design to create something wonderful for us, and that my friends is a wall of fire.
Now of course we don’t have a Vegas show budget, but we still wanted it to have a lot of impact, so the wall seemed like the best option. We had to go through a lengthy process of applying for insurance, fire permits, having (and passing) an inspection and thankfully all of that was taken care of and we got to experience the first wall of fire this past Tuesday. It looked really incredible and everyone who saw it that night cheered. It was one of those ‘i really love my job’ moments.
This is backstage as Geoff burns the excess propane off at the end of the night.
And what did I do all week you ask? Well as usual I provided the crew with a snack to go alongside their morning coffee, ran a lot of errands and bought a lot of weird things. In fact, I bought so many weird things over the last few months, that my goal for next year’s build is to write down all of the things I purchase and make some sort of an infographic.
This was my final breakfast. After a week of unhealthy stuff I thought it was time to treat the crew (and their tummies) to something nutritious and delicious! And this is bagel day. Everyone loves bagel day.
Now don’t think for a minute that I would forget about Wardrobe, but my friends, I have so much to say about Wardrobe that it will have to wait for another post! For now though, I hope you enjoy this incredible photo of the Queen of the Night and Pamina, taken by Nanc Price.
Well that is it for me tonight. I’m off to go have some snacks — again! Hope you enjoyed this inside look at the show, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more about the Magic Flute in the coming days!