At the Helm: Time to make some noise

By Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer December 02, 2011 10:28 pm

 

I sit in a chair on the stage at the Harbor Performing Arts Theater, behind a table loaded with a variety of sound-making devices: a water bowl and ladle, Christmas bells, plates and utensils, and a cymbal and wind chimes. I even have a large sheet of metal to make THUNDER! 

Three other members of the sound crew sit at their places with a table full of similar items: a mini-door, chains, a box of gravel, drinking glasses, a pair of shoes and a funny looking, homemade gadget that makes the perfect “squeaky door” sound.

In the sound booth above and behind the seats, a fifth crew member is poised, ready to activate a variety of recorded music and sound effects.

This is the first time I have participated in a theater production since junior high, some 30 years ago, when I was a member of the stage crew. Why did I wait so long to return to the fold?

As I see it, my fellow sound crew members and I have the best roles in a very unique production of “A Christmas Carol,” presented Dec. 9 and 10 by the Brookings-Harbor Community Theater. (See story on Page 1B for full details.)

The timeless classic is not going to be acted out on stage in the usual manner. It is being presented as an old-fashioned radio show, with voice actors stepping up to the microphone to do their parts. Four of the five-member sound crew also will be on stage, so audience members can see how we create the fun and unique sound effects.

The public can listen to the show when it is broadcast on KURY radio, (95.5 FM) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. It will be interesting to see how we are going to fit the 18-member cast and the sound crew, with all its effects, into the small broadcast room.

The production of “A Christmas Carol” is a family affair for the Graves folk. For the first time, mother, father and daughter are on stage. My wife, Jacque, and our 8-year-old daughter, Alia, are both voice actors. We’ve been rehearsing together with the rest of the cast for the last few weeks. I can’t help but smile when I look over and see my wife and child carefully reading their scripts,  preparing for their lines.

I’ve been having so much fun as a “sound guy” that my daughter decided that, instead of acting on stage, she wants to work behind the scenes. She has requested a spot on the stage crew for the upcoming production of “Pinocchio.” 

Very cool.

On a related matter, the Graves family has spent the better part of four Saturdays in November at the Harbor theater, helping with renovation work. 

For the entire month, a small army of volunteers hammered, dismantled, scraped, painted, patched and moved, to give the aging theater a much-needed face-lift. After helping taking apart a wall for relocation, I spent most of my time with a paint brush or roller in hand, giving a number of walls a well-deserved coat of paint. My wife did likewise and our daughter helped, and she could often be found with a broom in hand sweeping up behind others.

Overall, working and playing at the theater is a great way to spend time with my family and newfound friends. Thank you Dori Blodgett, for the theater and all you do for  the community. And a loud and joyful thank you to my fellow sound crew buddies – Lynette McPherson, Christine Chapman, Daniel McPherson and Brittney Lawson. 

You guys rock! 

And THUNDER! And CRASH! And BOOM!