Last night I assisted the AV Man in setting up the technical side of the upcoming school production, I say assist as colour blind boys find it difficult to run the lighting to the specifications of others and I am not really able to be the sound guy as my hearing is shot from to many loud concerts. So we spent most of the evening in the local hall that has housed every school production since it was built in the 1950s, plugging in cords and running cables. The first thing I must comment on was watching this man operate was a joy – every thing was methodical, had a system and once you stepped back and looked at the final product it was art. Just watching him work was like viewing a solo dance performance a top an extending ladder and I was just the boy who passed the drill or spanner and held the ladder – I learned so much in one short evening.
While holding the ladder, and not talking to the man on top of the ladder in case I distracted him, I looked around the hall and had time to reflect. In the corner was the old Piano that has been the center piece of every previous production – it was covered with a movers blanket and unwanted for this show. The stage where I have seen plays and performances and tallent shows was also unwanted in favour of a movable stage system.
Just like how the rest of the world has been changed by technology the school production has too. To begin, the scrip was purchased of the internet from a play write from New Zealand and it is a goodie. Next the sound effects are being run off an iPad that has its own input to the sound board and next to that input is the connection for my Mac Book. The Mac Book is connected to a HDMI cable that runs along the roof of the hall to the Short throw data projector. Will we ever paint a backdrop again? You can CC search most images and change the backdrop at the click of a mouse (with the option of video too). Microphones now hang almost invisible from the ceiling and again get run from the sound board at the back of the hall. OK, the lighting is still the lighting, but the rigs are very different and the lights are also run from the same place as the sound and the computer and the iPad.
But the final and most important part is that yes there is a lot of technological changes with the running, setup and backstage, but the performance is still by the kids, the music is being played by the kids, every child in the whole school is involved and the learning objectives are still the same. Technology has added to our lives and allowed us to do what was previously difficult, impossible or unthinkable, but it is just a tool and we must remember not to forget that.
He aha te mea nui?
What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.