Monday, June 20, 2011

UPDATE: Auditorium Fly System Renovation: "Dude! Where's My Catwalk?"

Indeed, dude. Where is the catwalk?

Not here. For those who were not inclined to look up often, the catwalk that made up our "loading gallery" (that place 36 feet off the stage deck that we would visit from time to time to load and unload weights) is now gone. Or, just about gone, as evidenced by the ladder landing at the top right of the photo. Watch out for that first step - it's a doozie ...

What will be there soon is the next generation of loading gallery. Behold - all steel (no wooden slats for a floor) with a protective "cage" as a railing.  Solid tube construction, and, needless to say, not 54 years old. There is something to be said about that.

Which leads to the answer to the first question:

This is all that is left of the steel frame of the catwalk. The wooden slats are not shown, but you get the picture. It seems a bit meager, doesn't it? This speaks volumes regarding the new structure that is replacing the old structure: it will be safer and more secure. We may never find ourselves up on the catwalk if we plan our designs well, but if and when we do, it will be a safer place to be. That's the whole impetus behind replacing the equipment.

There is a certain casulty that I must say I will miss: There will be a number of past actors and techies who labored mightily to leave their mark behind in a theater that they loved - and their names go out with the steel. While I cannot condone the act of tagging government property, I suspect that a new set of names will appear as the years go on.

And the beat goes on. Check here next week to see what else has been done.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

UPDATE: Auditorium Fly System Renovation: Handball, anyone?

What does a naked theater look like? Like this:
The rail and the lines have been completely pulled, in this photo taken from the SL just upstage of the proscenium. (Never thought we had that much room, did you?

What's behind the old fire curtain?

Bricks. At least part of the way up. The old gray monster is down, and on its way out.

One oddity that we see is a concrete pad put down where the new rail will go.

This photo, taken from the SR well looking straight upstage, shows the freshly poured concrete where the rail system will be attached. The amount of force that the system is designed to handle requires a strong anchor/foundation. With our new automatic winches, this will provide stability and increase the degree of safety (in terms of load bearing) to levels unseen in the auditorium.

Stuff is happening quickly! WOOT! Check in regularly for updates as the new equipment begins to come into the theater!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

UPDATE: Auditorium Fly System Renovation, June 7, 2011

The WHS Auditorium was closed to all activity starting Monday, June 6th, at 8:00 to allow contractors to begin the demolition phase of the fly system renovation. So, as if on perfect cue ...

Image credit: Lammers, B. "Naked Flyspace" 6/6/2011
This is what our current fly system looks like, as of 4:00 PM, Monday, June 6th. Only three electric battens are left (and if it weren't for the cables that don't quite allow it to go all the way to the floor, they would be down as well), every shred of dry-rotted, filthy, tired black curtain is gone, as well as the upstage cyclorama drop. The main curtain was pulled last week, with the intention of getting it re-treated for flame retardancy. This photo, taken from the vantage point of the scene shop, also gives those with a certain fear of heights a clear shot of the loading gallery catwalk - a cool 32 feet above the stage deck. The pull lines had not been pulled when this photo was taken. The workers will be spending a good deal of time up on the grid, so if you the fire windows open atop the auditorium as you pass by the school, it's because it's about 15-20 degrees warmer up there on any given day. (I didn't ask their opinion of how it was to work on the first really hot day of the year, but some things just don't need to be asked.)

I'll continue to post photos and any commentary on the install. When the equipment begins to show up, we'll post information on what it is and what it does.

Hope the summer has stated well for everyone!