Reason! Sanity! Focus! : Part 3


Act 1 Sitzprobe totally…happened. And we all survived. Everything is relative, I’m filing that under “good news”.
And relativity is key when you have 16 mic’d actors on stage, who are getting their first chance to sing with the band, and the band, who are getting their first chance to play with each other, AND along with singers in a smaller-than-they-expected pit, and a new system getting its first chance to pump out all of it, and an operator/designer who is figuring out just how little all of her script notes mean at this point! It is key because unless I remember that all of this is part of the PROCESS, it can all get overwhelming really quickly. And an overwhelmed mind lacks three things needed to make the process fruitful – reason, sanity, and focus. So my tech mantra for Rent is…REASON. SANITY. FOCUS.
Sitzprobe number 1, in a nutshell, tells this story:
I need to rethink my L/R/C balance. The center can’t do everything I’d like it to do in its real-world application. But it’s going to be a huge asset for me once I get it dialed in.
I need to reset some mic gains. A mic check that’s longer than 10 seconds per mic will really help me get gains straightened out, and I’ll get that prior to Monday’s rehearsal.
We have some broken gear. A bad antenna killed one of the principal’s mics within, literally, the first minute of sitzprobe. I have a new one, and a backup promised for the second sitzprobe. My gear guy’s good on his word, and I’m not sweating it. Much. 🙂
Feedback, for the first time in this space, is a real consideration. I got bitten a couple of times last night with low rolls. I re-rung the center after everyone left with all 16 mics open and sitting down the center, and found my problems at 100Hz and 200Hz. I had to make some pretty drastic cuts at those frequencies – they are VERY live. I ran some music through the mains and center after my adjustments and the system still sounds fine. We’ll see.
I’m super glad I opted to take inputs from the band. We need them. Previously, if we needed more of something in the band, the musician had to turn up their amp, which meant all the other musicians turned up THEIR amps, and then I had to turn up mics, and then we’d get sucked into the loudness war.
This show is going to be a beast to run. I gave up some simpler group control to get more balance options, and with the band adjustments, and the quick back-and-forths/entrances/exits, I’m essentially running the show on 21 separate faders and running sound effects. It sounds silly, but I’ve never done that. Every show I’ve done that’s had anywhere this many moving parts was run on a digital desk, and I’ve been able to program scenes to make the job easier. Let me tell you, I’m developing a new appreciation for the old dogs in this business really quickly! 🙂
So, stress abounds. But Reason, Sanity, and Focus will reign in the booth. I have given myself everything I need to run this show. Now I just have to figure out the best way to do it.

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