Thursday, February 11, 2010

Any Thing Can Happen—So Be Prepared

I was on the crew of an elaborate “stage show” held in Hawaii by a major corporation. It brought five thousand of the company’s most loyal customers together to receive awards, get a glimpse at new products, and grab lots of give-aways.
It was held in Hawaii. And so, it was only fitting that we would have a fake volcano and surround the stage with a fake lagoon. Hola dancers, singers—the works. The night before the event was scheduled to take place our lagoon broke and water starting pouring into the seats through out the theatre. So part of the crew were dispatched to purchase as much equipment as possible in order to quickly vacuum up all the water. Near the end of that effort I volunteered to crawl under the stage and try to vacuum out the remaining water. I was the one most suited for the job because I happen to be only 5 feet tall and it would be easier for me than for my buddies who were at least of normal stature.
Funny. My mother used to brag to her friends about how I was a big shot producer with my own entourage. I thought it was fitting that I was only the “assistant stage manager”--out of a crew of one hundred--and my job was not in fact glamorous. To complete my assignment, I spend most of my time crawling on my hands and knees in the dark.
Now back to the story. We did not put new water into our so-called “lagoon” because we were afraid it might leak again overnight. We just used staple guns to tack up the extra plastic and cover it with real palm leaves.
The next morning when the curtains rose promptly at 9 AM all went well. The announcements and awards went off with out a hitch. Then it was time for the finale. And a finale of fake fire is what it was.
While the real Hawaiian Don Ho was out in the audience crooning to the spectators, the volcano on stage was spewing lava. However, the lava caught the volcano—made out of Styrofoam--on fire. Very realistic indeed. Fortunately the stunt men each had fire extinguishers in hand and as the assistant stage manager I had tucked extra fire extinguishers under the left and right stage steps. So we had a very spectacular ending to the show and all was finished to satisfaction. The moral of the story: Be prepared and safety first.

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