Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edward Scissorhands

"How did you get the Scissors through Customs?"
That was the level of questions at yesterday's Media Launch for Edward Scissorhands. I don't know why I was surprised. Maybe I was expecting in-depth discussions about the dance aspect of the production or more artistic based questions. The main thing is I lit the show, photos were taken, interviews done and I could go home.
I was a little impressed with how it looked in this morning's paper - I missed seeing the Channel 10 news clip but I'm presuming it all went well. There was enough smoke being pumped on stage to mimic a small bushfire so there was plenty of 'atmosphere'.

Now I'm in the middle of more mundane matters - three loads of washing, a young lad to get off to the first day of School and overdue DVD's to return. Ahh, domestic bliss.

Monday, January 28, 2008

To Date

Would you buy a used lighting rig from these women? Here is Roxie, Kate and Christine in the early hours of Sunday after a fun time taking down the curvy Murundak rig in the Concert Hall. Yes, we all look mucky and sweaty because we are.

I went home that night morning to pass Chris coming in for his 6am rig, in the same Hall, of the Korean Christmas Youth Spectacular. We did finally manage to catch up with each other on Sunday night around 9pm.

Tonight I'm looking forward to a relaxing bout of non-technical knitting. I have several projects on the go at the moment but I only have one with me in Sydney;
This is The Bag from No Sheep for You and I'm making it from Corn. Once I got my head around the slip stitch pattern it is a proving to be a fantastic knit. The Corn is a bit like a ribbon cotton yarn without the splittiness and the texture is fantastic. When it is lined it will make a lovely bag. It is destined for a Handbag swap that's been run on Ravelry and I have three patterns that I am trying to choose from. I may end up doing all three if I can finish this in time.
The problem is that de-rigs like the aforesaid keep using up all my energy but the Sydney Festival has finally finished, school holidays are over and I have three days off after the Edward Scissorhands media launch tomorrow, so I should be back on track anon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Form over Function

Helen Mirren has a wonderful memoir called "In the Frame" in which she makes the observation "I love to see design that does not fight with the materials or performers but informs and frames the production in an outstanding and imaginative way."

These sentiments were echoed in a recent discussion in the Entertainment trade magazine CX, when John Weston, a technician of long standing, observed "Acts are no longer complemented by their light shows, they compete with them...The modern lighting designer has forgotten how to trick the human eye with subtlety and contrast."

Many of the shows I have seen in theatres over the past year have been guilty of this - the designers and programmers seem to be seduced by the special effects of computer-enhanced state-of-the-art control boards and moving light technology. Somewhere under all the flashing lights and strobing colour changes is a performer who is often in the dark, figuratively and literally.

John mentions a few lighting 'greats' that never let the technology supersede the art. Designers like "Mel Conder (the Czar of Darkness), (the late) Bill "Angel" Akers, (the late) Roger Barrett, Peter Rooney, and Sue Nattrass," could make a set, costume or performer seem so much more without resorting to excess or extravaganza and with a lighting design that would draw a fraction of the power of present day rigs.

I had the pleasure and the honour to work with most of these and other skillful lighting designer who didn't need pre-programmed macros to create magic on stage and understood that the name on the theatre billboard was not Wholehog 3 or Grand MA.

This post may seem ironic considering that many of these shows take place in the ultimate example of form over function - an Architect's Dream and a theatre technician's nightmare.

Meanwhile, back at The House...
The Grand Circus has moved on to be replaced by the relative quiet of the SSO and Joanna Newsom. Her amazing ethereal voice and harp have no need of flashy lights or strobing colours but it was expedient to leave Murundak's big Lighting rig in the air and use the Mac 2000's and Vari-Lites in a more restrained way than usual. I must say it is a very pretty rig using wavy lines of truss to recall the lines of the Rainbow Serpent. Once again I'll be taking it all down on Saturday night to make way for a much smaller side-bar arrangement for Sunday's Korean Christmas Spectacular and International Youth Festival; that's for the other half to sort out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dismantling the Wheel of Death.

I took the lad to see the acrobatic spectacular Le Grand Cirque and it was absolutely stunning.

Once I got over my annoying tendency to make disparaging comments about the unlit areas and the dark spots I really started to enjoy the whole theatricality of it. The acrobatics and daring feats of strength and agility were very impressive.

Tonight I had to help take it all down. The magic and colour all disappear once the House Lights are up and the Star Cloth has been struck. Smoke and mirrors - that's all it is - but it works.

These are some of the tools of my trade and lately they've been getting a lot of use.
The Festival Factory has all the venues in the House working hard - as it should be. I recall several years when there were no Sydney Festival events happening in the House - which seems strange considering its flagship status for the city and the state.

Now I have to constantly check my diary to find out what I'm doing and which theater I'm in; Playhouse one day with Construct; Concert hall bunp-out of Spanish Harlem Orchestra next; back to the Playhouse and put in Akmal; - prep for the Media Release of Edward Scissorhands in the Drama; What day is it? Where am I ?

I think it will all calm down in a few weeks when the SSO comes back to the Concert Hall and a good dose of Shakespeare is installed in the smaller venues. Then I can look forward to swapping my Shifting Spanner for a set of circulars.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bags, Bags, Bags.

I've entered a Bag swap on Ravelry - just because.

This has caused me to review my Bag situation and it's a sad prospect. Not being a handbag for every occasion type of person this is the total of my current usable carriers. The big Backpack at the back is for commuting to work and staying overnight in the city. It usually holds enough to support anyone shipwrecked on an island or stranded in the bush for a few weeks; Books, Laptop, change of clothes, toiletries, snacks, tools (spanner, Leatherman) and at least 2 knitting projects and supporting paperwork. Needless to say it is not light.

When I'm just going to the local shops the magenta bag in the front used to suffice - until the strap broke off - for the 4th time - probably because I started to overload it. It is looking very battered because it has served me for many years since I found it in a Mt Victorian Treasure shop for $20. (Maybe I should go back up there and see if they have any more). The short term replacement is the lovely marmalade paper raffia bag in front - again from a treasure shop in Charing Cross for about $20. (I don't spend big on my bags). The problem is that paper raffia is not a durable product - especially when they are mistreated handled a lot. I give this bag a few months at the most.

The final bag is the "my husband went to New York and all he bought me was a Macy's Store Bag" which I really do appreciate and which I use for my Knitting Guild hold-all. I know if I put it into general circulation it will start to look as tattered as the others so I'm trying to keep it for 'good'

Getting back to the Bag swap I have been impressed/overawed by the number of free bag patterns in the Knitting 'verse and have reduced my choice to two - guided (I hope) by my partner's preferences. The final choice of pattern was partly decided because I wanted to try Cascade 220 - a knitting staples overseas and now finally available in Australia at Yarnsonline along with a few other goodies I am trying hard to resist.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What happened to the week?

One minute it's New Year's Eve and the year is brand new - then it's the middle of January.
What have I been up to?

I have been reading: - The Golden Compass Trilogy,
watching DVD's: Randall & Hopkirk (deceased)
Playing PS2 (badly): Lego Star Wars I & II
Knitting: Captain Underpants and Wicked.
Sitting: at the Pool
Online: Ravelry

I've also been working some mean shifts and doing Big Bump outs. It's Festival time so that means a constant stream of shows across four different venues all lasting about four or five days - a real production line of theatre.

My current show (being performed even as I speak/type) is construct, a beautifully choreographed, wonderfully lit, very clever dance piece that just reinforces that tragedy of the accidental death of its creator, Tanja Liedtke.
The production is moving to the Riverside at Parramatta next week, I recommend it highly.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Fresh Start

As a positive start to 2008 I'm going to get rid of my Stash - not the Yarn stash, the Fabric Stash, harking back to the time, many years ago, when I thought I could sew.
I have about 12 sewing machines or more but they are more an indication of my fascination with vintage Singers than my ability to construct a garment. The pile shown here is about half of the total and I am going to donate most of it to the school to sell at their next Market Day - if they will take it. I have put aside a few choice pieces for people I know will be able to make better use of it than me.

The positive side of this divestment is that it will make me feel better about the Fibre Stash I have (much easier to use and manage) and maybe make some room for future (yarn) expansion.