By: Kerrie Mondy
A friend of mine, who is also my gear guy for the show, was gracious enough to come see Rent and give me his opinions on how things sound. We talked for quite a while after the show about what he heard. The condensed verdict is that overall, things are in pretty good shape, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. So now, a little more than halfway through the run, I’m changing…well…almost everything.
I didn’t want to fuss too much with the EQ for my L/R mains, but I’m going to try adjusting it to take out some low mids that I’ve to this point been EQing on the mic channels. I’ll then re-EQ my mics and see if I can get them tonally more where I want them. Specifically, I need my mic EQs to do more to get everyone coming through in the mix.
He felt that next time we set up this system, we need a delay. People who are upstage sound “off”.
He also suggested that I put everyone, not just the principles, in the center cluster as well as the L/R (there goes that theory). He felt that the difference between the 2 groups (one group in all, one in L/R only) sounded a little weird, and having everyone in the center will make the show sound more natural. Doing this will require me to reset my gain structure to keep feedback at bay. But interestingly enough, he pointed out that in my quest to make the run free of those horrible rolls I encountered in rehearsal, I’ve limited the dynamic range of the show. I need to let it breathe.
I need to breathe.
I think that may be the hardest part (in fact, I smell the topic of the next blog cooking). Last night’s show was the first one where I didn’t have fun. And I know the point isn’t to have fun, it’s to run the show, but it says something to me that I wasn’t able to engage. I wasn’t connecting with the ensemble or what they were doing, or what they were feeling. It was robotic. Faders. Cues. Levels. Turn the page. Are we done yet? At one point, during intermission, I got an earful from our music director about the drummer’s monitor not working again, and how it was of paramount importance that it work correctly. I knew it HAD been working, because I tested it when I came in that day. It turns out that someone had unplugged the cable, most likely by tripping over it. I plugged it back in and returned to the booth to find that I was genuinely irritated by the situation. “I’m aware that the monitors need to work”, I thought, sarcasm spewing from my brain. “I can’t do much when someone unplugs the damn thing onstage during the show.” What’s really wrong about that isn’t that I got perturbed – we all do, from time to time – but that I couldn’t let it go. Usually, I have my little moment, get it out of my system, and resume normal operations. But this time, I was pretty sour for the rest of the evening. I just wanted to get done and go home.
My work/life balance is completely out of whack, and my body and brain are letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that they’re tired of it. The long story short is that I have little time, even less money, but lots of responsibilities, and I feel completely overwhelmed by the combination of the things I’m working on now, the things I have starting up, and the ever-increasing mountain of things I’m behind on. My reserves of energy and humor are pretty depleted. I think the system in the theater is only one of many things that need to be adjusted and revisited.
What’s good in Rent world? I’m excited to implement some of my friend’s suggestions. The bass channel issue turned out to be just that – a bad channel. And the show run is totally sold out, a major win for this hard-working cast and crew. Let the retooling begin.