Closer Than Ever to my Theatrical Dreams!

Hey friends!
How are you all doing this week? I’m doing great! When I started the reboot of my blog, I hadn’t really made any choices on what the focus of it might be.  I decided just to go back to talking about different facets of my life like I used to, and hope you all enjoy :).  (And if not, then read another blog, jerk! ;))

For the last few weeks I’ve been working at the Gateway Theatre on their production of “Closer Than Ever” as the Technical Director.   This is my first time as a TD since my practicum almost two years ago, and I’ve been loving every minute of it.  Every day presents a new challenge and I’m learning so much as I go!  I’ve once again found myself in a position where I’m surrounded by seasoned theatre technicians and craftsmen who are always willing to impart their knowledge.  And it’s awesome.


Photo from my last run at being TD : Grant MacEwan University’s production of The Light in the Piazza.  Directed by Farren Timoteo; Set Design by Lisa Hancharek; Lighting Design by Scott Peters; L to R in this photo : Dylan Thomas, Larissa Pohoreski and Vanessa Wilson.  

So what does a TD do you ask? Well it certainly varies.  From city to city, house to house, show to show, there are always different expectations for a TD and it’s best to be prepared for everything! Allow me to elaborate a little here…

During my practicum, I had to do all of the construction drawings (blueprints) but here I didn’t have to do a single one.  Our designer, Marshall McMahen, gave us great drawings to work from and our carpenter, Vince Folgizam, was able to build right from those.  Vince has been working in theatre for longer than I’ve been alive (Where were YOU in 1986?) and really knows his stuff.  In a mere two weeks he and Ian put together all of the risers (floor), flats (walls) and facades needed for the show in a maybe 500 square foot shop.  Lucky for us, our shop is right next to our theatre so we were able to store pieces on deck (stage) when they were complete.

I also had to do some sourcing the last time around, but primarily my materials were allotted to me by the school and anything weird I had to find, I had to make out of those existing materials.  On this show, I’ve been doing mostly sourcing, costing and a lot of errand running to pick up the various items needed to make this show come to life.  This has seen me visiting such places as Cloverdale Paint, Benjamin Moore, Ikea, Home Depot (my personal favorite), Riggit, Anzico Hotel Liquidators, the Broadway Welding Shop, Industrial Plastics and way more.  I’ve probably enjoyed this part the most because it’s given me a chance to get to know the city better.  I spent the majority of my life living in Edmonton and knowing where everything was, and it’s been a bit of challenge familiarizing myself here. But I’m doing it — cause that’s just what the TD does!


The TD also puts their feet up when the audio crew finishes four hours ahead of schedule.  

Perhaps the biggest part of this job is making the designer’s vision a reality.  Generally speaking, there are several designers to please — set, props, wardrobe, lighting , audio and sometimes video — but as TD, my main focus is usually in keeping our set and props designer happy (and on budget).  I’ve been very fortunate on this show to work with someone who not only has a very clear vision of what he wants, but is flexible in how we achieve that look.   Oh and did I mention he’s talented as all heck?

As I write this post, my crew has broken up into two groups.  The first, led by our Head Stage Carpenter, Tim Cardinal, are working on installing the set as well as a practical light fixture.  The second are working with our Lighting Designer, Jeff Harrison, to complete our FOH (Front of House) lighting hang.  In my experience thus far (practicum, Opera, etc.), we almost always have the scenic carpenter working alongside the stage carpenter when installing the set.  Who knows the set better than the guy who built it? So you guessed it, Vince is helping them put everything together.


Finishing touches on the chandelier hang

There is also a third crew working today on finishing up the final scenic elements needed for the show.  Omanie, our painter, is putting the base coat on as many pieces as she can, while Rick is cutting pieces of lattice to be used for our cityscape background — more about that later.

We have all of today and some of tomorrow to get this set up and then after that we move onto lighting focus — where you set the lamps to the right spots, focus them and walk away — and level set — where you go through the show, scene by scene, programming lighting cues in the board and setting the levels of intensity and color.  This coming Saturday, our stage management team is going to move into the theatre and start rehearsals in the space, so we have a lot to accomplish before then.  After that we go into Q2Q and running the show and we open next Friday!!

Finally. Just because I miss him a lot.  It’s like my theatre school chum Tyler Herman is still with me here in VanCity :).


Well that is it for me today! I am off to help the crew and then once 6 o’clock rolls around, possibly baking them some more goodies tonight — I’ll see where my brain is at in a few hours.

Hope you enjoyed this post! There will be one about cookies soon ;). (And then more about the props and cityscape for Closer Than Ever!)




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