Building For the Bard

Mounds of nails, mountains of wood, a maze of gadgets scattered throughout the yard
Chopping, sawing, nailing, grinding with sounds of grunts and moans filling the air
Icky, sticky, all so very messy, glues and paints splashed here, there and everywhere
Father, sons and sometimes daughters too, in a frantic, full of panic, wondering what to do
Somehow manage, without too much damage, to construct stairs and chairs, rails and jails,
Lifts and cliffs, swings and other over-sized things
Not for themselves, but for the Bard and his friends
So they can escape his pages
To perform on stages
– R.C. Devlin


zk_lighting[1]“The lighting for Twelfth Night was probably the best experience I have had doing lighting for San Jose Youth Shakespeare.  It was the first time (for me) that there were no major technical difficulties.  I also felt that the lighting quality and effects were better than in any of the previous plays.  Overall, both in lighting and in acting, I think Twelfth Night was one of our best productions.  I hope that the experience I gained from Twelfth Night will help make future plays even better. Twelfth Night will continue to influence me for many more productions.
– Ziad Khayat

lighting_booth[1]The lighting system in The Historic Hoover Theatre consists of ten metal trusses hung from the ceiling, five over the stage and five over the audience. We hang various types of stage lights from these trusses. The lights that are hung over the stage throw light at wider angles than the ones over the audience, which means they illuminate a larger area. The lights with smaller throwing angles are used from further away. We color the lights with high-temperature stage “gels” and sometimes include “GOBO” or GOes-Before-Optics inserts to cast special lighting shapes. We uses a cross for Hamlet and leaf effects for other plays. There is also a line of Cyclorama lights, alternating red, green, and blue that cast colored light on a large white “Cyclorama” curtain to produce “Cyc” backstage stage color effects. All the light lights plug into high powered numbered power outlets in the ceiling called channels. Our stage crews learn how to safely and correctly handle this expensive equipment and tall ladders during setup, design, and take down of every show.

The lighting control panel is located at the back of the theatre. It has over 48 different controls, known as dimmers. Each dimmer can be programmed to control the light power channels, setting lights at specific levels. We program the panel for each show to provide light effect and unique lighting levelsfor every scene in the plays. Hamlet was one of our longer performances and included more than 100 unique lighting cues per show. The time it takes for lights to go out is called the downfade; it can be set to take as many seconds as desired. The amount of time it takes for lights to come on is called the upfade, and this can also be set to any time. The downfade and the upfade are used during scene changes. This lighting system is fairly simple, once understood, but lends itself to a wide range of effects. We always make sure youth learn control and program the control panel, with adult supervision to reduce stress and to help the crew and cast enjoy each setup, rehearsal, performance, and take-down.

Stage Management

Help Wanted

stage_mgr[1]Assistant Stage Manager (ASM): Young person with interest in extreme sports. Must have experience with: kid-wrangling, toilet-plunging, basic first aid, and cleaning cheese powder off blouses. Persons with a background in wrestling and/or sprinting would do well in this position. Theatre experience is not required, but knowledge of Shakespearean language and its many possible mispronunciations is recommended. Persons who do not function well in high stress situations are discouraged from applying.

Job Description: When the audience is seated and the lights dimmed, the production is turned over to the Assistant Stage Manager. As an ASM, you are required to follow the script, communicate with the lighting crew, ensure that all props make it on stage in the proper hands at the proper time, warn actors of upcoming entrances, verify that actors are indeed wearing their costume boots and not their orange tennis shoes, pry temperamental children away from each other, and perform a vast array of possibly unpleasant tasks which may arise, including mopping up bloody noses, playing hide-and-seek with props in the dark, and allowing cast members to wipe their hands on your shirt when the bathroom runs out of paper towels. This is a very gratifying job; ASMs feel accomplished when all chorus members make it onstage in time for their bow, and when, at the end of a performance, no one has had to nurse any wounds. Assistant stage managing also has its perks: free admission to every single performance, with exclusive backstage seats and the opportunity to wear a snazzy headset! Also, the prestigious ability to sneak behind the snack bar and drink coffee from the “Cast-Member Pot.”
We are now accepting applications from all those who do not expect the glory, but have a lot of guts.

“The job of being a Stage Manager covers a lot, and means you are keeping track of the entire production. This includes any physical scenery, lighting, sound, props, and costumes. A Stage Manager always carries a binder, which contains a complete cast list, the contact information for everyone involved in the play, and all the prompt info (the cue book). As Stage Manager, you are managing all of the rehearsals and the performances, and you must be present for all of them. A great book to explain everything in detail is The Stage Management Handbook by Daniel A. Ionazzi.”
-Ellie C.