Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What We Don't See

Audience members are always intrigued by what is happening backstage that they don't see. Most of it, of course, is boring standing around simply waiting to go on. Nothing glamorous at all. But backstage life is changing too. Like everything else in our lives, it is being affected by the influx of new technology. It is not uncommon to see an actor preparing by listening to his or her iPod or a designer during tech checking the score to the game on his or her Blackberry. But there are some other funny and less reverent stories that are sure to bring a smile to your face.

The first is not necessarily a story, but a parody. From on of the recent editions of Forbidden Broadway comes the song On My Phone to the tune of On My Own from Les Miserables. The song begins "On my phone | I can send a text message..." Of course during the middle of her song the singer's phone goes off and she has a chat with here friend: "hello... now we're still in act one... ok, I'll call you back after I die." As funny as this may seem, conversations like this happen all the time. A friend of mine told me about a phone call to a friend in Cats on Broadway that ended with "Gotta run. I have to go jump out of a garbage can."

This past November our nation had an election. I happened to be in tech. As soon as the run finished, the sound designer ran back to the booth and used the computer that was running the sound cues for the show to check the election results.

But how did we get on without all this technology. What did an actor do when stuck in traffic and knew they were going to be late for call? How did the stage manager track things down? Were carpenters better at keeping lists so they didn't have to call the designer from Home Depot?

As always, we ask you to share you stories. Do you have a story of how the modern technology shaved you during a show or performance? How about a time before cell phones where one would have saved you? Or do you have a story about a funny use of technology backstage? We invite you anecdotes here.

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