13 April 2017
This one's for the people who work in the dark
Hello and welcome to issue five of Noises Off, which today is dedicated to the techies.
I don’t know when Technician Impossible started, or who started it, but it was a thing 11 years ago when I first came to NSDF, and I like to imagine that it’s existed for as long as Noises Off has, a conceptual link between the magazine and the Technical Team.
It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed and tried to keep alive at the festival, partly because I think it’s fun, partly because I think it’s important to make even a token amount of space for the Tech Team in a magazine that is meant to be for all the festgoers, but mostly just because it is incredible to see what a group of talented, skilled artisans can do when set an absurd challenge.
There have been some highlights over the years – a jetpack made from Guinness cans, a recreation of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s world-record 147 break at the Sheffield Crucible using real people instead of snooker balls – but nothing comes close to the efforts of this year.
We’ve had luxury hammock-draped Hullywood signs, a Chris Thorpe statue sculpted from flapjack and, yesterday, in response to the challenge to make a pixel recreation of the artwork from Celebration, we got a collage piece dreamt up by Lucy Jenkins, and a composition comprising selfies of every member of the Technical Team created by Steve Partington. It is nothing short of a work of art, and can be seen here.
In his speech at the unveiling of his statue, Chris Thorpe told the Tech Team, “this has been a colossal fucking waste of your time”. He was right. The Tech Team’s time is precious, with get-ins, get-outs, rigging, opping… But they did it anyway. Because we asked them to. Because they could.
There’s nothing more depressing than hearing a director say that they haven’t really considered the tech aspect of their show. The tech is fundamental to the look, feel and sound of a show – to dismiss it is negligent.
For the most part, however, tech has played an integral role in the shows this year. There’s been sexy side-lighting, shadow boxes, snow and heart-pounding sound. All of it creative, all of it art.
But it will be a surprise to no one that this issue we focus on Nothing is Coming, the Pixels are Huge, a show that took an object as simple as a cardboard box and turned it into a vibrant building block that became trees, rivers, stairs, tower blocks, and painted the picture of an entire dystopian digital future. It was a stunning piece of technical work, and encapsulated perfectly the imagination, dedication, time, effort and perfectionism that the best techies exhibit on a daily basis.
Techies, we salute you.
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