Posted by: raesalley | May 17, 2008

always get the clue sheet

Last night was one of those nights I dread as a sub-SPT stage manager. The night where things break and you have to fix it or work around it.

Quick background info: most theaters of a decent size have a master electrician who is either running the show or has their well-trained apprentice running the show for lights. A similar situation happens for sound. Or what might be the case is you have a well-rounded technical director who does everything from build the set to changing a blown light. My level has me running the show and doing all the fixing. Usually this is no big deal, as I can paint, follow cords and fix silly little things.

Every once in a while though, I have a show where I don’t get all my clue sheets. I often chance it and hope nothing breaks. Or if something does break, I hope it is an easy fix. Not so lucky tonight.

Last night I let the lights warm up and ran sound to check the speakers. I swept up and started walking the stage while shuffling a deck of cards. Then I noticed one light out. Then another. And a pair upstage. All in all, I had six lights not coming up. Without a clue sheet, I didn’t know which channels were out or what the official purpose of the lights were. With the number of instruments not behaving, I’m betting it is either a breaker or a dimmer pack being the source of the problem. When switching the breakers off and on doesn’t solve the problem and no way of knowing where the pack is, not to mention the mob of people now filling the lobby, we re-write the two affected cues and fix a bit of blocking and run the show.

After the show, on my way to get a drink with the house manager, my phone rings. It’s the lighting designer apologizing for not calling sooner and asking for the 411. I give him the run down and he says he’ll be by tomorrow. He also apologizes for not giving me a clue sheet before now.

This afternoon had him being one of the many calls I received (odd, that). The problem was very very easy – the plug from the dimmer pack to the outlet had fallen loose from the outlet. A quick shove back into the ceiling mounted outlet and all was right with the world. And now I have clue sheets.



  1. At the moment, I fall into the “well-rounded technical director who does everything from build the set to changing a blown light” category… 🙂

    At least you have clue sheets now.

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