Behind the scenes drama at the panto
IT MAY look like a seamless production to the audience, but behind the scenes at the Wyvern Theatre’s pantomime there is a team working hard to keep the show going.
Waiting in the wings are a whole host of technical staff changing sets behind screens while the actors are on stage – sometimes with less than three minutes to get the next scene ready.
Aladdin, which stars Keith Chegwin as Wishee Washee, is at the theatre in the town centre until January 6.
Stage manager, David Jell, said: “During the show we are always busy. We never have time to watch the pantomime. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that the audience don’t see. When the actors are on stage and the cloth is down behind them we are taking big bits of set off.
“The longest scene change we have got is three minutes, most of them are less than that. “We challenge ourselves and we just try and do it as quickly as possible.
“There are times when it is tight. That is where we get the buzz from.”
The biggest scene change in the show is for the finale, which involves bringing a staircase on stage.
“Keith sings piano man to entertain the audience while we change the set for the finale. As soon as he goes on stage we are changing the whole stage behind him. The whole show builds up to that because we know it is the biggest scene in the show,” he said.
“Keith makes the song last as long as we need. As soon as we are ready we put the cue lights on and he knows to finish the song.”
David said pantomime is one of the best times of the year to be working at the theatre.
“For us it is a lot of fun because the whole building just comes together. The first couple of weeks are pressured and stressful but once you get into it you get to know the cast a lot better and they get to know us,” he said.
Technical manager Ben Hardstaff said they start work behind the scenes at the pantomime in the summer.
Ben and David work alongside the lighting designer and the director to get the set ready for the first technical rehearsal.
Before each show the lighting operator checks every light in the show, sound operators check the microphones, speakers and sound effects.
For tickets to the pantomime phone 01793 524481 or visit www.wyverntheatre.org.uk
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