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