Director’s Notes: Notes From Imperial – July

The theatre is quiet this summer. We are doing maintenance in our technical department – sound, lighting, stage, etc – and working on the final details of our new marquee installation. And, let’s face it while people love to see live music and theatre, with a short summer like ours we’d all rather just be outside. We still welcome lots of tourists (thanks summer students for helping out!) but for the most part we are in planning mode.
I love planning mode! It’s finalizing all of the small and large details – like media buys, show posters, playbills, brochures, sponsorships, hotel bookings for artists, video trailers for Box Office, budgets, media releases, and… I could go on. It’s all of the details that, when done well make the Season run smoothly. Of course were working with people (artists and audiences) so it’s not quite as simple as that, but I still like the principle.
Of course something can always go wrong no matter how well you prepare. An artist can be stuck in a snowstorm; or they can find a body and have to meet with police so they almost miss their show (this happened!). The newly installed sprinkler system can go haywire and soak all the instruments of a visiting orchestra (happened!) or the power can go out when you have a house full of 800 toddlers (happened!). You can perfect the sound for a rock show and still have 2 people standing side by side while one says it’s too loud and the other, it’s too quiet (also happened). You can have all of the very best of intentions and still have an unhappy audience member or a grumpy guitar player. But, I swear if we didn’t do the work and preparation we’d never make it through the season with our senses intact.
It’s funny because I mention all of these things that have gone wrong and I don’t mean it in any way as a complaint. The truth is that those are the types of things that make a season interesting and memorable. After the soaking of the orchestra’s instruments the whole staff, local musicians and friends banned together to clean up the stage and find replacements for every single instrument and the show still went on. The 800 toddlers were invited back the next day when the power returned and for the most part a sincere apology and taking the time to listen can help even the most unhappy of customers to feel better.
Here is to preparation with the full knowledge that it may not matter a jot.  B.