LiveDesign LiveBlog

Adventures in the North

Colleen and I went off to Banff to remount our latest operatic design, Frobisher. It was an interesting lesson at so many levels. At a fundamental gear and logistics level, it had challenges we expected: Having the projectors in different positions, as well as the set. Thus a big adjustment in content. It also had challenges that were unexpected. The power in Banff is strictly, uh, variable in the summer, with so much use of air conditioning and the tourist population, voltage spikes and brownouts were commonplace. Man did that make for unhappy projectors. Particularly when we relamped just prior to opening, it semed as though those power supplies and new bulbs were having an even harder time with the power. And then the air conditioning in the booth gave way leading to a fried graphics card. Ever try to find a really high end graphics card for a Hippotizer in the middle of a national forest ? We DID find one in Calgary, and after some puzzling with device drivers the Hippo was back. A visit from the kindly HVAC gods led to a restoration of cool, both in the booth, and at the production table.

This much is evident... maybe even self evident. Boy does it suck when a projector moves. Or gets replaced totally. Man what a hassle. We lost 4 hours of cueing time, time we could ill afford.

What an amazing opportunity remounts of new works are though... (was that an oxymoron?). The chance to revisit, revise, and extend the first artistic thoughts is just awesome. Coming back to the work with the experience of having done it once; the ability to analyze it and really dig in. Mmmm it was good. Colleen took the lead on this, and she was so precise, so mathematical, and so poetic. Frobisher is naturalistic, lots of representation of tundra, snow, and northern lights , a delicate palette.

We've been moving into a good deal of producing events, and that poked it's head into our process quite a bit. We're designing/producing a DVD/PBS special with the Boston Pops, John Anderson, and Belinda Carlyle in a rock adaptation of Handel's Messiah. Worrying about getting broadcast trucks, taking care of seat kills for camera positions, coordinating among the Executive Producers (NETworks, and Half Pint Productions) and the vendors and venue... It seemed like I spent a 1/3 of my time in Banff away from the table, on the phone putting out fires. It's really rewarding taking responsibility for all that stuff, but it's also really difficult, and really relentless.

Just life in the Canadian Rockies.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.