Comedy of Errors 2020
Shakespeare loved writing about twins. In fact he loved writing about them so much that in 'A Comedy of Errors' he didn't settle for one set of twins, he went for two. Because two is funnier than one. The mayhem he creates as Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse get confused for Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus is a perfect example of his mastery of comic writing.
As this show used the seating bank, the PA comprised of the standard Left and Right setup rigged on catwalk 2 with the subs on the same catwalk in their usual configuration. I also added two foldback speakers which were placed directly behind the left and right speakers facing upstage, which were used for the band. My final two speakers were effects speakers, which sat on the floor on the left and right of the stage underneath catwalk 3. These were used for the live foley sound effects, and also acted as front fills to aid the PA L and R for the front few rows of seats.
One of the main features of the Sound Design was the use of live foley sound effects, which was performed by the cast on microphones throughout the show. These sound effects were used to emphasise parts of the action for comedic effect. I had two different EQ effects programmed on the desk for use on the foley to add depth. One challenge of the live foley was plotting what mic was used when and by who. I decided to write the mic plot into my script and note any level changes also. As the Director wished for the foley mics to be kept on throughout the entire show, I opted to keep them at a base level which was set during tech, and noted the level changed from this baseline into my script.
'Comedy of Errors' also had a live band onstage, comprised of piano, cajon, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and violin. They were mic'ed up as follows: Piano L and R- AKG SE 300s Cajon- Shure SM57 (inside cajon) Electric Guitar (clean)- DI Acoustic Guitar- MKE Headset mic and Shure UR1-m transmitter taped near saddle of guitar facing sound hole Violin- MKE Headset mic and Shure UR1-m transmitter. Mic worn by cast member playing violin in her hair and secured by wig clips
There were also several acoustic instruments which were not mic'ed, including two ukuleles, two triangles, clarinet, bodhran and two penny whistles. These were either played acoustically, or through one of the foley mics.
This show had a few sound effects as well, including a record scratch, a piano hit, a sub drop and a 'wall splat'.
Technical Stage Department
Noah Dates - Stage Supervisor
Erin Johnstone - Deputy Stage Supervisor
During prep week, we prepared for the fit - up by prepping kit and making sure all of the paperwork was in order for Health and Safety. Throughout the course of the production, there was not a lot to worry about in regards to the set, which composed of boxes and other assorted props sourced by Stage Management from various places including the National Theatre of Scotland. TSD's main concerns were the pendant practical fixtures that were flown in and out by the performers which terminated on the back wall upstage, the mirror ball that flew in and out center stage that spun and the fake noose, which was lowered down at certain points of the show.
The mirror ball had to be raised, lowered, and spun. It would be attached to the mirror ball motor and tied off to the bar above with fishing line. When it was lowered down, the fishing line was removed from the mirror ball and pulled out so it wouldn't get in the way of the motor drift and tangle up.
The fake noose was tied just like a regular noose, but we gave it a long tail in order to tie a stopper knot at the top of the wraps. The noose was a proper hangman's noose bar the stopping knot. There are no laws in the UK that prohibit the flying of a noose; however, a proper Risk Assessment and Method Statement were written up to explain the control measures we had in place and to ensure that no one would be harmed by this item.
The pendant practicals were a joint project between Electrics and Stage. The pendant fixtures were hung inside a light birdcage and had to be flown in and out by the actors. The lines were cut and measured and the appropriate kit was pulled and made up during prep week. In order to put some weight at the end of the fixture, we attached a single blue pulley in between the rope and the fixture and ran the cable up the side to the top of the bar. The lines were run using the orange oscillating pulleys to the back wall where the line was terminated and marked on a cleat. To ensure that nothing would go wrong while the actors were flying the fixtures, the rope was tied off to the cleats appropriately and safety knots were tied into the cleat to stop the fixture from falling if the actors untied the cleat by accident.
As part of the design two blackboards were required. We got one from the props store but struggled to source a second one, hence our decision to build a second blackboard ourselves. As there was a low budget we were able to source the wood for free from construction and from the dock. The design replicated that of the blackboard from the props store.
Master setting list
Due to the sheer amount of props in this show, the majority of which needed to be set on stage at the top of the show, a detailed setting list became vital. We decided on supplementing the list with a visual guide for ease.