Smoke is becoming very much a theme of this week’s production.
The strange thing about managing these show runs is the way the work pans out. Typically I am fairly busy during the build period, very very busy during the lighting and technical phases, busy during the rehearsal phase and then relatively lightly loaded during the actual performance run (obviously during the performance itself I have work to do but thats only half the evening, and the time before the performance is quite low impact for most shows).
So for this week, from Tuesday when the show opened, I was expecting the before performance period (ie from 6pm until 7:30pm) to be relatively light.
Wednesday I had to replace 3 auditorium lighting roof bulbs – and 2 of them were under walkways in the roofspace meaning it was a struggle to replace them, and I came down from the roofspace completely covered in dust and worse.
Thursday the fire alarm stopped working. This show has 4 segments which create significant amounts of smoke. The alarm would not allow me to do any privaleged commands (ie my key had no effect on it) – ie if it went off I would not be stop it, and I could not isolate any smoke detector zones. Cue many phone calls. Cue me looking for the director to tell her we might need to have an electric railway form of the play with no smoke at all. Finally a couple of minutes before the audience were due in we dismantled the control panel, and manually actuated the switch that my control key should be prodding, which allowed us to switch off the required detector zones.
The show was saved. Much stress was generated. Blood pressure up, weight probably down (so one good result).
Then at 10pm we had to dismember the panel again to reset the system.
Very much a night when you wonder quite why you are doing this thing unpaid in your spare time!