Author Topic: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2: Thunderstruck  (Read 14275 times)

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PSMKay

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Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2: Thunderstruck
« on: Nov 19, 2007, 11:37 am »
Time for another Student Stage Manager's challenge.  As before, all are welcome to post, but the question is targetted towards our student members.

Here's your scenario, pulled from one of my own horror stories.  In 2002 I nearly got myself fired due to handling it poorly.  Can you do any better?

Quote
It's the final matinee of a major new musical, written and composed by two of Broadway's biggest names, performed in a small non-equity regional house.  It's May and raining.  As you get to the climactic scene of Act II, lightning strikes the roof of the building and blows out every instrument and light in the facility.  You've got a full house and a cast of 18, many of whom have family in the audience.  You have two people on deck, four volunteer ushers, and two now useless follow spot operators.

You grab your trusty flashlight, race down the spiral stairs to the lobby with its three-story tall glass windows and bump into the managing director, who tells you that the show must complete. What do you do next?
« Last Edit: Apr 12, 2008, 05:34 am by PSMKay »

zayit shachor

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #1 on: Nov 19, 2007, 11:50 am »
So, the show's a matinee - is there lots of natural light in the lobby with the huge windows?  My first instinct is to move everyone there, and have the actors finish the show in a stripped-down kind of way.

If that wouldn't work...I'm assuming that the worklights don't work?  (There is no possible way of lighting the stage at all?)  If that's true, and the stage is completely dark, and there's no place to finish the show where there is enough light, then it's not safe for the actors anymore.  It'd be hard, but I would put my foot down and insist that the safety of the actors is my number-one priority, and I can't allow the show to continue in conditions that are unsafe - because part of the job they hired me for is to be an advocate for the actors.

I guess there's always the solution of getting as many flashlights as you can, but I don't think that's very safe either.

But yeah. Finish in the lobby.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: Nov 19, 2007, 11:53 am by zayit shachor »

PSMKay

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #2 on: Nov 19, 2007, 04:36 pm »
OK, given both of those options, what route do you take for execution?

keypalsman

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #3 on: Nov 19, 2007, 07:17 pm »
I would look eye to eye with the director and say no more show for you. No power means no show. Its that simple. I GUESS  ???

sailor_sam

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #4 on: Nov 20, 2007, 02:06 pm »
If I understand correctly...lightning touched the building and if it had enough power to fry the dimmers, I wonder if the fire alarm system was affected.  And if the building was struck, there could a high risk of fire in the roof causing a life or death situation. 

My plan of action would be to calmly empty the house (i.e. remove people via the main doors and then outside [to a parking deck if available], same with the actors and crew and makeing sure that all persons are accounted for), also I would ask that someone (FOH Staff) call the Fire Department and ask them to come out and inspect the building / fire alarm system before having the building re-opened to the general public. 

just my idea of what I would do. 

gabzi27

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #5 on: Nov 21, 2007, 01:35 pm »
You tell the director no, you can't risk the lives of the actors or the people in the audience, since they respect you, they cave and let you finish the evacuation in a timely manner so no one is hurt by tripping over, stepping on one another, etc., then you talk to the director about getting the electricity back and reschedule the final performance. 

BWEEVEED

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #6 on: Nov 21, 2007, 04:22 pm »
If it all possible, make an announcemnt and explain what has happened, then remove everyone calmly from the house and call the proper authorities. If you CAN continue the show within a set amount of time, wonderful. If not, attempt to reschedule.
If the world is a stage then we rule the world.

04sdwall

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #7 on: Nov 25, 2007, 01:16 am »
I worked in a summer theatre that had this issue on the big fundraising night.  As a result we had to open up all of the house doors, it was a pavillion so that helped a lot.  The bigger issue for us was the air conditioning went out so the audience was very uncomfortable.  Unfortunately getting struck by lighting is not a rare occurance, so we were always prepared for it.  Before going head to head with the managing director, telling him/her that the show would not go on, I would access the situation see if there was anyway to get enough natural light inside of the space to make it safe for everyone.  Then pull all the mag lights you can find.  You would be surprised how much light they can put off, then try and finish the show.  As they say the show must go on...  Also make sure you take a couple minute break to inform the actors and make sure they are comfortable with running the rest of the show in present situations, and if there is any particularly tricky sequences like fight scenes make sure the actors feel like they can be safe under new conditions. 

Hols

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #8 on: Dec 09, 2007, 01:41 pm »
Call the fire department. Let them know the situation and find out how soon they could be there. Run down the steps, run into the MD and let them know the fire department has been called and you are on your way to reassure the cast and audience that the situation is being dealt with and please remain seated. Ushers will be around momentarily to usher you to the lobby.

After that, inform the crew/cast/ FOH what is going on. Get everyone possible a flashlight. A regional theatre may not have the biggest lobby, but it will be a more relaxing holding dock for the audience than the black of the theatre. If the actors and musicians (assuming live orchestrations and that a sound system is not needed) are able and the room in the lobby allows, inform the audience* of a rare opportunity, and start the show at an appropriate french scene in the lobby. (*Ask the Managing Director if they would like the honors of giving this "curtain speech" and thanking the audience for their patience, plugging the wonderful versatility of the production, etc.)

Of course, as the audience had been filing into the lobby, the crew and follow spot operators had been moving all practical set pieces and props into the lobby for such an event.

(would that be a good approach to take? any feedback would be great!)

lalaa0822

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #9 on: Dec 18, 2007, 08:40 pm »
First thing I would do is grab all flashlights in my kit, in the booth, backstage, and if possible, take the ones used as stage props.  Have the managing director make an announce to the audience asking them to be patient as we repair everything.  First I would check all of the circuit breakers and see if they could be reset.  If I can’t get that working then I would ask the entire cast and crew members to do an emergency hanging.  Everyone I’ve worked with always have had a good knowledge of all of the technical functions so it should be no problem. 
~Angela

"Be yourself! I know that sounds cliche, but we all have seriously quirky things about us that may make us feel like an outsider or different, but those are the things to really celebrate. They're what make us unique!" - Idina Menzel

Scott

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #10 on: Dec 18, 2007, 09:55 pm »
If I can’t get that working then I would ask the entire cast and crew members to do an emergency hanging.


What do you mean by that?

God Bless -- it's probably true that both the Art of the Drama and Society in General would be improved with more emergency hangings!


Katie ~

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #11 on: Jan 02, 2008, 10:43 pm »
Firstly, ask everyone to remain calm and not to panic...and send the ASM to tell the on stage actors not to move.

If this had happened at the local theatre I know that the emergency exit door can be opened to provide enough on stage light during the day, and the greenroom could be opened as well flooding the left side stage when the curtains have been taken down and we have a huge light in the booth which could be used easily to "spot light" them.

A lot of what I would do would depend on what theatre I'd be working with...and if there was a way to get natural light onto the stage.
« Last Edit: Jan 02, 2008, 10:46 pm by tari »

cbjfan44

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #12 on: Jan 07, 2008, 11:26 pm »
Why not try and find as many flash lights to use to light the stage and actors. Then have the orchastra sing their parts to help keep music going. As I have a background in music during marching band we were called out to sing our parts when we couldn't play if the weather wasn't the best but still needed to do a run through on the field. Everyone should know their parts by that point.

Similipoulette

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #13 on: Jan 15, 2008, 03:13 am »
Well, if the house lights work, the actors can finish the show with the house lights on. If they're not working, then tell the director the actors cannot work in the dark it is too dangerous, no show this morning, make an announcement so the audience and the actors know what is going on, give flashlights to the volunteer ushers and get them to empty the house safely,  then the ASM and me get all the actors in the lobby, to figure out what happens before the next show. Um... yeah that's what I'd do...

jmc

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Re: Student Stage Manager's Challenge #2
« Reply #14 on: Jan 15, 2008, 10:32 am »
Just a wee think, if the lighting has cut the mains power off. T ;)he 'Maintained' Emergency Lighting would switch on to back up batteries, which will give normally at least 90 minutes of illumination. However if the Mains power is still on, switch the mains off, this will activate the emergency Lighting automaticly.
With the Fire Indictor Panel [FIP] alarm system, the battery back up would have switched in. however if the venue is on a DBA [Direct Brigade alarm] a 'fault' signal would be activated at the local Fire Brigade Station & they would be contacting the venue direct anyway.
Anyhow just a thought! ;)
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

 

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