Thursday June 9 2011
98*F and 98% of heat and humidity slapped me upside the head as soon as I stepped out of the Charleston, SC airport. Mortifiyingly hot. Staggeringly unbearable (for the Ice Princess). I am sure now that the word "sultry" originated in Charleston.
But most of the time here was spent in the dark theatre, prepping, setting up and teching for The Gospel at Colonus. Actually there wasn't much 'tech' at all (meaning rehearsing with full lights and sound and stopping and reworking pieces when necessary) - it was all setting up. Usually a show gets a couple of days of tech before a couple of previews before Opening. At a Festival where things are on a tight schedule, you get but a couple of days of 'tech' before Opening. This time we spent every single minute setting up, and we didn't have but one run-through the afternoon before Opening night. One and a half days of setting up is cutting it very tight for a show to open, especially when you have the usual sound tech problems of, say, your 14 wireless mics not working, and your help liason in Germany stopping returning phone calls for help, and the next set of microphones delivered not compatible with the receivers, and one of the three 'transistor cards' on the mixing board not working, and the guitar and bass amp cases being delivered - without the amps inside, and on and on, and everything behind schedule...
But as always, Ron the sound designer pulled a couple of rabbits out of his hat, and by 7:30 PM of Opening Night, everything was working (almost) seamlessly, the performers were brilliant, and the show a rollicking success.
After all these years, the songs still knock my socks off and the voices never fail to move me.
Even if the weather is stultifying, I am so lucky and grateful to be together with the talented Gospel cast and crew once again.
A couple of videos from rehearsal:
that's a couple of the Blind Boys of Alabama
That's the Missionary Baptist Choir, and (among others) the Steeles and Soul Stirrers