For the months I spent working on the play Plan 9 From Outer Space, I can honestly say it was the best learning experience I’ve ever had. My plan 9 experience began basicly around the same time as when I was first becoming techie. I had never done anything, whether it be acting or tech, for a mainstage show in my life. I was about as new as one could be. But I somehow found my place in things. That place being in lights crew. One morning before class, I was sitting in 213 when Mr. Defeo came over to me and started to discuss my future in lights and what I wanted to do. Prior to this, I had attended many Saturday workdays and had shown interest in lights crew, but this in my opinion really kick started my involvement in the show. That and him asking why I wasn't at the workdays after school, which caused me to therefore attend all workdays from then on.
Over the next couple months I made it my priority to learn as much as possible, and do as much as I could to help. Then came the time when we began to really work on setting up the show. In the beginning of the load in days I found myself helping out multiple crews along with lights, since most of the lights work couldn’t be done until the set was built. During this time I noticed how much cast and crew can work together, an example being how I saw Connor Woodson and Drew Broeckelman helping out set crew out after their rehearsals.
Once the platform was built, we could begin focusing, gelling, and gobo-choosing. Most of this was done by Crew Chiefs Jamie Leonard, Alison Lemon , and Oliva West , but I was still a part of it. I spend many work days being a ladder-footer or a “go get this from the bat cave” person or a “model”, which, even though may sound boring, in the long run were actually pretty fun (or, if not, they were at least learning experiences). This went on for about two to three weeks, and by the end I could finally start seeing the show sort of come to life.
Next came the first tech week, which is where I actually began having a job to do. I was a spot light. As a newcomer, being a spotter was yet another learning experience. You get to sit up in the cat walks, be on headset, and try your best to be in the right position when you get turned on. And for me, it was later a chance to try out some cool photography angles. Along with my new job, tech week also brought being able to see how the cast was doing, since their rehearsals now were on the stage. The first rehearsal, also called cue-to-cue, took forever. It was at least double the time of the actual show, since after every scene or cue we would usually stop or go back. Although I knew this was normal, and necessary, I still couldn’t help feeling kinda bored from it.
After a few days, and especially into the next tech week, the show began to reveal itself. The actors began to wear their costumes and makeup occasionally, and the set was nearly complete. This brought about me having the opportunity to photograph some of the main characters. I usually had my camera with me at rehearsals anyway, so it was an easy and fun task. The photos then were then used on multiple news articles. I had no idea that I would get such good feedback from them, but I got many compliments from students, parents, and even some teachers.
Finally came show week. The week we had all been preparing for had finally come. The rehearsals seemed to go by faster, and then before I knew it, it was Thursday.
There very little things I did not like about this show. Even after seeing the show at least 10 times I still, up to the last performance on Saturday night, had so many scenes that would make me laugh. But over all, my favorite had to have been where Mr. and Mrs. Trent are saying goodbye and begin an over-exaggerated makeout scene. Now that by itself was funny, but the part that always got me was how Mr. Trent ended up with gray smudges all over his jacket. As for a favorite character, mine was hands down the Ruler played by Alex Ritchie. Every single night he would make me laugh, even though I had seen his part many times. The fact that his belt said “bad girl” made it even better. My favorite scene, from a technical standpoint, was Inspector Clay’s grave rising scene. The way the fog, gobos and lights illuminated the grave gave it a really cool eery feeling.
The only things I think we could have improved was that there was some yellow/brown lights that kind of took away from the black and white feel of the show. Along with that were the colors on some of the buttons on the props in space ship, which also weren’t black and white. Both of these things were so minor that it really wasn't a big deal though.
I am so glad that I was a part of such an excellent show. Everyone, from the actors to the techies, did such an amazing job at making this show a success. It was bittersweet seeing the set torn down during strike Saturday night, and after all was finished it seemed strangely empty up on stage.