Light fan­tas­tic

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - TECHNICIAN ANGELA CROMPTON -

Late nights, high adrenalin and run­ning on empty at a fast pace are the things An­drew Mac­don­ald likes about do­ing theatre work.

The year 12 Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege stu­dent and class­mate Scott Mcmillan are the sound and light­ing crew for the Marl­bor­ough Reper­tory’s cur­rent show, Cosi.

It opened at the Boathouse Theatre in Blen­heim on Wed­nes­day and by Tues­day night’s dress re­hearsal, An­drew was con­fi­dent ev­ery­thing was sorted in his depart­ment.

He and Sam al­ter­nate the light and sound du­ties be­tween each show but an­other reper­tory man was fill­ing in on Tues­day while Scott went to Air Train­ing Corps. The same man filled in dur­ing half of Sun­day’s re­hearsal so An­drew could com­plete a school maths as­sign­ment.

He was in­tro­duced to theatre work at school as a band leader char­ac­ter, Funky Fin­ger Phil, in a com­bined col­leges’ ju­nior pro­duc­tion, Lit­tle Stars. He liked the way the ac­tors’ work was en­hanced on stage by light and sound ef­fects and de­cided to learn about con­trol­ling those for a fu­ture show.

His in­tro­duc­tion to the tech desk was a ma­jor one: do­ing the lights in My Fair Lady, the Blen­heim Mu­si­cal Theatre’s main 2011 pro­duc­tion at the Floor Pride Civic Theatre .

Theatre lights at the Boathouse Theatre are con­trolled by mov­ing slides up and down a light­ing con­trol board and pro­gram­ming the light­ing cues into a com­puter, he says.

Ev­ery scene has its own cue and there are about 200 of them in Cosi.

It is a com­edy drama set in a 1970s psy­chi­atric hospi­tal where pa­tients are do­ing a stage drama as ther­apy.

Light­ing ef­fects are largely used to show a dimly lit, manky hall, An­drew says, but a spe­cial chal­lenge was sim­u­lat­ing flames to show a fire lit out­side.

He, Cosi di­rec­tor Denise Mo­ran and her men­tor Dun­can Whit­ing worked to­gether to cre­ate ‘‘flames’’ flick­er­ing on the other side of a stage win­dow.

It was An­drew, though, who fig­ured out how to fol­low script in­struc­tions for water to leak from a fuse box af­ter a fuse in­side it has blown.

Some­one back­stage pulls a string to ac­ti­vate a party pop­per which sim­u­lates an ex­plod­ing fuse, he says. Then water spills from the fuse box, thanks to a con­cealed so­lar shower.

‘‘I thought of the idea but I didn’t go in there with the drill.’’

An­drew also de­signed the pro­mo­tional poster for Cosi, a pro­duc­tion he is en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to see be­fore the sea­son ends on Satur­day, March 31.

‘‘If you are bored and you are into a good laugh, come along to see a fun show.’’

Back­stage:

An­drew Mac­don­ald, right, looks af­ter the sound and light­ing with Scott Mcmillan for the Marl­bor­ough Reper­tory’s cur­rent show, Photo: DEREK FLYNN

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