Friday June 20 2008
Think No Longer...
"Think No Longer That You Are In Command Here" (spoken by the Reverend)
We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make wireless microphones work flawlessly just anywhere, like here in the Herodus Atticus theatre in Athens. All of the handheld mics, all 13 of them, are getting RF interference - either buzzing when they are spoken into, or dropping out all together. Not what you can have happen during a show. Different possible solutions are tried, but none of them are working. We will try to get a new system with new wireless mics by this evening's runthrough. Maybe they will arrive here, maybe they won't. The wireless headsets are their own problems - they are not the omnidirectional mics we asked for (meaning if they slightly get moved out of position away from the mouth, the volume changes drastically), and gold colored instead of black, which will stand out on dark skin! We try to get them ready to use, just in case we are stuck with them.
Maybe the piano will arrive here this afternoon... and maybe it won't arrive until Saturday. And when it does arrive, it will need tuning, which will take two hours. Maybe it will get done before tonight's sound checks begin at 8 and the dress rehearsal begins at 9 PM. Maybe it won't.
I finally have all the microphones for the choir ready to go at 5 PM after 2 hours of work, and then Lee the director decides he wants everything changed. So we'll change it. Maybe we'll get the extra mics for the choir we need tomorrow afternoon, maybe we won't.
A lot of this is out of our hands. We don't know if Apollo (Greek God of Music and Poetry - and by the way, the Crow was his bird) or Dionysus (God of festivals) have any say in this matter, but we hope they are on our side.
"Should I Weep For My Own Misfortune or For Yours?" (spoken by Polyneices)
I can't take the heat, and it is excruciatingly white-hot in the theatre in the afternoon. Even the Raven feels the heat.
The marble steps in the house are very steep (and if I slip and fall, it will be very painful), and I seem to be going up them to the sound board and down them to the stage a LOT. In the heat. The first day, full of energy, I ran up the steps. Now it's a slog.
There's no time to eat anything after 2 PM when we get to the theatre, until we get home at 3-4 AM. At 11:30 PM, Ron comes up to the sound board and says, "Hey, they brought you a sandwich! It's backstage." Oh, excellent! My evening brightened and my energy level rose in anticipation. When Ron came up to the soundboard a half hour later, he said, "They threw your sandwich away." Very sad.
Sleep is at a minimum.
Not complaining or anything (right?), just pointing out some of the obvious suffering and misfortunes that always go with the Gospel, which I am happy to be here experiencing.
On the other hand, I really have no cause to weep in Athens, because I've had it far worse. In Athens I am fortunate to have my sound designer Ron here (he could not make it to our show in Moscow - a near-disaster still painful to contemplate), and I am fortunate to have good and pleasant local sound guys to work with (which was not the case at a famous theatre which shall not be named - and which is still an ulcerous memory). Andreas here knows his sound board like I know my horse, and if there are any problems during the show, he'll be right here to help.
"Gods, I pray you, be compassionate!" (spoken by Antigone)
"God, help us all!" (spoken by Oedipus)
Our one full dress rehearsal begins around 9 PM.
We are only using about half the microphones that we will be using for the show, (hoping to get the rest in tomorrow afternoon) which means things are nowhere near full volume; and even so, one of the festival guys comes up to the sound board and says, "The archaeologist who is here says we can only be at 100 decibels. We are at 104 right now." I can only widen my eyes as a response. I know how loud this show can get during certain numbers. Maybe what Bern said in jest, "We're going to bring down the Acropolis!" is not far from the truth. Indeed, this one show may be our only show here! (Tomorrow's headlines around the world: "Colonus Brings Down Acropolis!")
We only barely make it through Act I by midnight, and though we rehearse till 3 AM again, we can't use the sound system because of the midnight noise ordinance. Which means, more or less, I will be winging everything for all of Act II tomorrow night during our only show.
Gods, let everything somehow come together, like it always does, by 9 PM tomorrow evening!