Audrie PryorMs. Tillery4th period Technical Theatre We all use lights every day, we watch movies or plays, but many do not know how manydifferent ways we use lights or what goes into making a play. Hello my name is Audrie Pryor.For my senior project, I have learned how to work with lights, sound, and build for theatricalperformances. I became interested in this at the end of last year. I went to a few of the plays andfound the things that I thought meant so little were actually a big part in the performance. Lightsset the mood, show the main points of the performance or the character that may be saying animportant line or showing the main character in the scene. It also changes the atmosphere of theperformance. The sound such as songs, someone singing, or the other sounds that help set theatmosphere. Having a place to act/perform is an important aspect. A good start for that ishaving a set that the actors and actress to perform on. It makes it easier for actors and actresstoperform and help the audience to understand the play. My product was setting the lights, building a set, and adjusting the sound for many of theplays that were performed over the year.I built doors, steps, platforms, and walls. I set the lightsaccording to the set and actor/actress. I adjusted the sound to accommodate the volume of thesingers and the music playing for the performances. I chose this project because it became veryinteresting to me after I found out about all the different aspects of the performances. When myfriend told me about the technical theatre class at our school and told me how things worked itcaught my attention right away. It was a lot of hands on work which is something I love to do.
When I heard about getting to build the sets, paint, and work with a lot of the equipment Iwanted to get started right away. So once I started taking the class and learning about all thethings I got to do I thought it would be a perfect chance to learn something new and decided Icould do it for my senior project. With my product it took a few easy and hard steps. In the beginning, I had to figure outwhat I was going to use for my product and how I was going to show it. With theater many ofthe parts cannot be moved, carried, or transferred to another location. While making the sets forthe performances I had to make them as easy as possible to move. So with the set for Harvey, Ihad extra help from Herb Denny who has built many things for the school. We came up with theidea of putting wheels on the bottom of any set pieces that needed to be moved. We bolted thewheels to the bottom such as the doors, walls, and some of the platforms. I learned how to usepower tools and paint the set. I had to tape the sets off when I was painting because the sets weresometimes different colors. With the sets being used over and over again it is sometimes hard tocover up the color before. Painting over a dark color with a light color was very difficult.Sometime, I had to apply three coats of the lighter color to cover up the dark color from before.The painting took a long time because we had to wait for some of the colors to dry so we couldpaint other parts on the same structure a different color. So I had to put three to four coats ofpaint on the sets which then made it harder for me to change the color of the set for the nextperformance. I helped build many of the set pieces for Harvey, Grease, and Toy Story. ForHarvey I helped build walls, doors, and a fire place. We used many of the set pieces for otherplays such as Toy Story. We painted the sets for Harvey a light color but when it came to ToyStory I had to paint it a dark color.
With the Coffee Shop performances, I learned how to work the sound board, which wasone of the hardest thing for me to learn how to work. I had to learn how to adjust the volumeaccording to singer or song that was being played. The sound board had a lot more to it than thelight board. With the sound board you have to make sure the microphones are set up to the rightchannel on the board. There were two Coffee Shop performances where I had to work the soundboard. You cannot program anything in the sound board which makes it hard to adjust in themiddle of the performances. The light board was very easy to work with. You just have to turn it on and turn thegrand master up. You warm up all the lights before you use them and then you are set to go.You can adjust them with the keys or you can use the keypad and type you the light number andhow high you want the light to be set to. While working for Grease, I had to move the lightsaround to fit the set. So I then had to go up the cat walk, which is above the stage, to move thelights to the position I want it and make it fit to the stage or the characters. I also helped buildsome of the set pieces. I went to a few rehearsals to make sure I knew how the play was going togo and to adjust and move the lights. With the lights that are not hooked on the cat walk, it isvery difficult to get to. I had to move a table under the light needed to be adjusted and then put aladder on the table. Having balance helps a lot because climbing to the top of the ladder whileon a table was very high and made the ladder shake. So if you are scared of heights, it would bebetter for you not to work with the lights. You can program the lights according to theperformance. Programing the lights was a little difficult, but after I practiced it a few times itbecame very easy. The first step to do this is to have your lights set where you want them. Thenyou have to make a list of the light numbers you want to use so you can record them on the boardtogether at once. After you have programed them into the board as one cue, then when it comes
time for the performance you only have to push one button. You may want to practice while therehearsals are going on the make sure you have the timing down. I also learned how to set aneffect. An effect is another easy way to show the lights during a performance. You don’t haveto push any buttons you just set it to a cue and push the level up. Your lights will then just gowith how you set them. They will fade in and out according to how you set them. My project facilitator was Matt Tamanini. He is the drama teacher at Creekview HighSchool. He has been a family friend since I first started high school. I chose him to be myfacilitator because he has been around the theater for a long time and he knows a lot about thetechnical aspect. He let me do a lot of things on my own but if I had a question he was there toanswer it. He was busy a lot of the time so it was hard to get together between both of ourschedules, but we made time when we could and got a lot of work done when we got together. Ifhe could not answer my questions I would research it. My research paper helped me learn aboutall the different types of lights, ways to use the lights, how to build certain set pieces, and how tomake the sound board easier to use. We did not have as many lights as I found in the researchprocess, but we had enough to do what I needed. All in all, with my project I have learned a lot I never knew about myself, drama, lights,building and much more. I have learned that I am a hands on learner and I love using my handsto build. I like to get things done as fast as possible but still want them to be done the best theycan. However, I have decided that this is not a career choice for me. It was fun and I lovedworking with the equipment and learning something new. For my future plans I am attending Reinhardt University and will be playing softball forthem. I am going to major in Sports Medicine and help athletes like I have been helped. If any
of you would like to see a performance I have helped with the theater will be performing GreaseApril 19-21 and 26-27 if you are interested. Tickets are ten dollars for adults and eight dollarsfor students, seniors, and military members. Thank you for your time and at this time if youhave any questions I will try and answer them for you.