view from the tech desk: Brighton Fringe 2018
Techie for our two Brighton Fringe shows, Isabel Sensier, muses on being the one behind the lighting/sound boards...
The tech desk is a weird place to view a show from. Everything is very different behind that desk. The amount of responsibility can be overwhelming: nerves threaten to take over. You're part of the action, but also at a weird kind of remove from what's happening. You hold so much power in those little sliders, but are placed so as not to be seen or heard by the audience.
In 2015, Squall + Frenzy's production of Thirst of the Salt Mountain had the actors take turns to operate the tech desk, which was placed fairly prominently on the stage. Subverting theatrical norms is sort of our jam, and I remember how odd/fun it was to switch between actor/techie mode in front of the audience.
Working in the fringe rarely allows this kind of freedom: our subsequent Brighton Fringe shows have always kept to a more traditional, tech-desk-in-the-corner format. In an ideal world, I'd love to have the tech integrated into the action - I think it's vital to remind an audience that they are at a show - I'm a great believer of Brecht's alienation effect, and there is something very in-yer-face about casually placing the techie under equal scrutiny as the actors - even blurring the line between the two.
People often assume that theatre is about acting, and sometimes directing. They tend not to consider any other roles. Technical roles are one of the ones that get sort of...forgotten. So why not place the tech inside the action?
Stay tuned for actors teching/improvised lighting/audience teching?