On Friday afternoon a friend came into see us, he was chatting about how he needed an extra pair of hands to help out with a local ballet production of The Nutcracker which his daughter runs.He was unaware of my former behind the scenes experience but I offered my assistance and he was over the moon.
I arrived prompt at 6pm as the curtain would be rising an hour later, the college would only allow us in an hour before the the performance, so time was of the the essence. My first task was to introduce myself to our crew which included a Fireman,an Ice cream man,a comedian and a Business Analyst. My first task was to rig up a couple of mountains, these were to be used in the final scenes.Then I moved on to help with both an enormous Fireplace and lastly a Christmas tree which was almost twenty feet in height.
The Fireplace which had been a previous exhibit at The Ideal Home Expo.
With all the props and scenery in place, there was a quick run through of when and where the various scenes had to be moved into position.The first half of the production was made up from the younger ballerinas and they danced to various tunes ranging from Harry Potter to Finding Nemo and even Shrek.
During the Interval we placed our first and most elaborate set consisting of a Fireplace, a twenty foot christmas tree complete with lights, baubles and tinsel an array of presents props and a fullsize window with backdrop of an illuminated moon.
It was at this stage where I became props handler, passing whatever was needed to the various actors to use on stage as needed , be it a rifle, a present containing The Actual Nutcracker or glasses of wine.Then we had two minutes to clear the stage for the next section of the story which was a snowy painted backdrop, this was the easy part.
The last scene had the largest props to get on stage, these were so heavy that some were carried on by a low loader, this is where a slight hiccup occurred.The Mountains has to be turned round onstage as they were facing the wrong way and we only had one minute fifteen seconds to get them on stage weighted and then scoot off stage.Well we simply ran out of time and three of us spent the whole act holding onto a twenty five foot mountain, that was the longest fifteen minutes of my life..
I still had time to sneak a picture.
The last props were two enormous Thrones and a sleigh which looked great all set out together.
I was asked back to help on the remaining two shows and I enjoyed every moment of it..
17th November 2013