After days and weeks of work tonight it is going to happen: the general dress rehearsal. As usual, a lot of things are to be done – lighting sessions, set improvements, building new things and chucking them out an hour later as they have not proven to be the right thing. Usually when someone starts to get stressed – the whole place gets in a kind of turmoil. It is part of my job to be there in these situations, anticipating them even and to put some water on the fire. Remember: the day of the general is the perfect day for panicking.
Not only being a production manager, set painter and people supporter I have also been allocated the role of a followspot operator. Brilliant! It is going to be interesting to operate the spot on a show which will be changed until the dress rehearsal. See how that goes.
Until then there is paperwork to do regarding the upcoming tour. I am lucky to get some hours in the office, dealing with the different venues in between phone calls. Somehow I realise that I am lucky only dealing with 30 people rather than 200. I am very lucky to have such a great support here at Opera North knowing that we can solve almost everything.
After a quick sandwich it’s back to the Howard Assembly Room. People working there are under a lot of time pressure, so I try to help out here and there and to keep conflicts away from them. Two hours before the show. Restless directors, musical directors, set designers and still some work on the tower to do.
Aah, fifteen minutes break before the show. The last issues are being solved with the help of Ric Green, the Technical Director and then the fire alarm reminds us that the smoke machine has just been switched on. Great! A general rehearsal should not be perfect, otherwise the first night will be in a mess. So we are covered. Fortunately we do not have to evacuate the auditorium and the show starts 10 minutes late.
As I expected followspotting was exciting as the lighting states looked new to me. At the very end my construction on the petals of the tower proved to be wrong and gave the singer a knock on his head. Fortunately that was in the last bar of the opera. Black out, curtain call and I find out that the singer is luckily very alive. Not too bad.
End of the dress. Everybody seemed to be pleased, a short production meeting afterwards and then a pint in the pub. What a day!