July 20, 2006
Peninsula Players is described in official documents as a theater company and a corporation. Reflecting on those who make up the company at the Players, corporation is the farthest thing from my mind. Rather, the Players are a close group of companions sharing living space, eating and working together to perform live theater.
Yes, the Players house and feed those who work here. If you have visited the box office in person and wondered what happens in the rest of the building, the answer is four company members live on the upper level, and on the lower level the administrative offices split the space with the costume shop.
While the carpenters live above the old scene shop and the box office staff above the box office, we also have staff and interns scattered around the property living in dorms and cabins. These 20 plus people share three shower stalls and a summer working at the Players is best described as theater camp.
With summer camps, there is camaraderie. And I am always amazed at the companionship our little troupe has. After the final curtain call of “Master Class” our crew was ready with drills, ladders, wrenches, hammers and crowbars to take down one set and move in the next. Everyone on property lent a hand. Actors and actresses from “Master Class” and “Noises Off” worked side-by-side with our technical director Scott Boyle and his crew to help move the costumes, clean the dressing rooms, dismantle and move the scenery, and sweep the stage of debris.
While that was happening, up in our new catwalks, our master electrician Dale Fanning was directing his crew of actors and interns to reposition the lighting instruments and re-color them. Were you aware it takes 150 to 200 instruments to light a set? Each instrument has a color plastic film, called a “gel,” held in a frame to color the light.
Each instrument is manually hung, tightened to the pipe with a bolt and c-clamp; safety cables are attached and lastly they are focused onto the set to work together to light it. This last step happens in darkness after the set is installed. So when I write about our technicians and interns working in the wee hours of the morning to accomplish our changeovers, it is not an exaggeration.
The final tweaking and preparation of the set is done by our tech staff and crew who sleep in shifts to attend the various work calls to focus lights, run the light or sound board, tape down speaker cables, paint the set, finish carpentry work and so forth.
When you see the set for “Noises Off” I hope you also think of these unsung backstage workers who gave up sleep to make this 19-foot tall set, with three staircases, and seven slamming doors rotate during intermission. Yes, rotate.
“Noises Off” is a madcap comedy within a madcap comedy. When you see the backstage of the set of “Noises Off” you are really seeing the backstage. Tickets are going quickly for this fast-paced fun fest. For yours, call the box office at 868-3287 or visit www.peninsulaplayers.com. Perhaps I’ll see you by the bay, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!
Audra Baakari Boyle is the Players Business Manager and has been with the company for an eventful 12 seasons.