I'm still good at that, while I suck at poker.
But anyway, this weekend was my annual foray into that realm that all theatre technicians loathe and FAR too many "normal" people love - The Nutcracker.
Find me anyone in stage blacks who claims to enjoy Nutcracker or who wouldn't happily travel back in time to SIDS that Tchaikovsky fucker with a pillow and smile in his crib and I'll show you a lying sack of sleepless December nights.
Fortunately, these days my Nutcrackers come in abridged versions, as part of the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra's Christmas Fantasy show. 8am lighting load-in into a 2100-seat sold out hall, 3 1/2 hours to focus, 3PM rehearsal, 8PM show, 10PM load out, and by 10:45 I was walking to my car. Not a bad day's work, which is televised in various cable markets on random PBS stations across the country. So if anybody tunes into background classical around Christmas and sees the Charlotte Philharmonic in some random place, drop me a note, it'd be neat to have my work seen other places.
This is my third year working with the Philharmonic, and I enjoy it. I do 3-4 shows a year with them, it gives me the chance to act like a "real" lighting designer. I go in, the union electricians do everything. If I feel particularly generous, I may help hand one or two lights. Usually not. We've pretty much gotten it down to a science now - I use the box booms to throw images of Christmas and snow onto the orchestra shell, I use three colors from the mezzanine rail straight onto the organ pipes for color, and have a little bit of high sidelight for breakup patterns and color splashies. And I don't write any cues, I just change colors and patterns as it feels good, so it goes back to the days of running live music, which was lots of fun. And my master electrician told me he thought it was the best looking show I've done with them, which was nice, since he's seen a few of them. It always feels good to get back to what made me want to play with lights in the first place - the immediate reaction of audience to what you're doing, and using lighting to enhance the mood that the performers are creating. It was a good day.
Still hate the fucking Nutcracker. I think I may need to bring Daddy down to visit next year and unleash him on the baby ballerinas. Heh-heh. Crush.