The Winter’s Tale

Second day of tech, and this is the hand of our light board op, Ashley, as she practices running the board for the show. It’s an ETC Smartfade, for which I have developed a deep and abiding hatred. Since we have 24 dimmers, we can’t run it as a straightforward 2 scene preset, which would have made life much, much easier, and actually recording a cue means creating and playing back pages and stacks, which means once something is recorded (and the manual is by no means clear on how to do this) it becomes very complicated to make any adjustments. There is a way to use it as a one scene ‘preset,’ setting up a cue with all 24 faders, hitting “Next”, setting up the next cue, and then fading into it with the crossfaders. However, there are times it mysteriously hangs onto levels, and if you try to do a manual fade within an established look, the board gets confused and things track forward and there’s no easy way to get back to where you want to be without screwing with the live look on stage as you try to back out of it. I hate this board. Hate it, hate it, hate it, and would prefer it if ETC went back to making the old MicroVision. That board would have been dandy for this space, equipment, and show.

Here’s production manager Bo Johnson working on getting the sound equipment set up.

We are performing on a hillside overlooking the river on the near north side of Milwaukee. Here’s the view slightly east, looking toward the Lake. As it gets darker, the lights come on, and it is quite lovely — though it has been rather cold these past few nights, and everyone at the tech table (myself included) have been bundling up under blankets to run the show.

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