FEATS 2015

Over the Pfingsten/Whitsun long weekend, otherwise known as last weekend, my theatre group hosted FEATS. FEATS stands for the Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies and is a 4 day long competition where 12 theatre groups based in European countries where English is not the official language each present a one act play in English and battle it out for Best Play as well as Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Original Script. As my theatre group was hosting it, I found myself with the position of Festival Sound Technician and my job for the 4 days was to help the groups during their 2 hour rehearsal period set up their sound equipment and, if needed, teach them how to use the sound mixer board and then be on stand-by during the performance in case of technical problems.  Since 3 groups perform each night and each get a 2 hour rehearsal period during the day, my day ran from 8am til 12am (& sometimes beyond) for all four days. It was an exercise in functioning on very little sleep. Fortunately, we were aided by the awesome technical crew of the Altonaer Theatre, which we rented for FEATS, who were extremely generous with their time and knowledge and forgiving of my ever decreasing grip on German grammar as the festival progressed and I became more and more sleep deprived.

What I found most interesting is that every group ran their sound differently – some used CDs and others their iPods whilst some even built their own software to run their sound effects from their laptops. Also, their experience ranged from very experience to never having done sound before. Some got their sound plans into us by the deadline so I knew what to expect and could plan accordingly whilst some never bothered to tell us and one group got a little aggressive in their demands for microphones that I had no idea they needed and thus required some time to get it organised. As this was a competition everything was assessed and given a mark, including how they ran their rehearsal, communicated with us and in between themselves and how organised they were. You can bet I gave the aggressive group a low score.

Our view from the tech box plus the lighting & sound boards

I also loved being back in a theatre. For some reason a theatre feels like home to me and I’m very comfortable there. Also, I love the humor that exists amongst the members of the tech team and were on full display up in our tech box where the lighting and sound is run from. These included;

The Play Acceleration Knob to ‘fast-forward’ through the boring bits.

 

The ‘Fall’ wall full of German words containing the word ‘fall’

 

Something for before & after the performance (alcohol & relaxing bath oil)

 

plus a myriad of other things scattered around the place.

 

I compiled a list of stats that I feel shows the huge amount of work that goes into running FEATS:

24 hours of rehearsals

18 hours of performances

15 hours of sleep

all in four days

 

Now, I get a couple of days rest before going into a three day tech set-up for our next play The 39 Steps. It’s a good thing that I’m currently unemployed because, at the moment, I would have no time to actually go to work.

 

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