So it’s crunch time now as the big day draws nearer… We’re in to the final week before the show and holding fast as we give a big final push towards opening night. Things are coming together slowly but surely, I see costumes whizzing and lights being rigged, roller coaster cars and giant flying horses materialising on deck as the days fly by, and all this being intermittently achieved between Floridian downpours and impressive thunder and lightening storms.
I’ve come here for an adventure with my good friend Katie, both of us having spent the last year working at The Bristol Old Vic in England, a beautiful traditional theatre which happens to be the longest running theatre in the UK. For us though, it is a welcome change to be able to spend our working days outside in the sunshine rather than in a big, dark room with no windows. I’m here to take care of the Caravan’s sound engineering needs so I’ve spent the last few weeks preparing all the equipment, designing a sound system that will suit the current tour’s needs and then installing it (both on the ship and the dock side) here at our mooring in Jacksonville. It sounds easy when you say it fast but let me tell you that it’s no mean feat when all the equipment, materials and the 30 or so people needed for such an undertaking are all crammed into the various nooks and crannies of one 30 metre sailing ship. It’s been a long story of searching, delving, digging and moving stuff back and forth between cramped storage areas but we’re here, the rig is up and running and ready to rock! Chapters in this story would include: which radio frequencies we can legally use, having to re-make and solder a new stock of sound cables with the kind help of Neutrik and their excellent plugs and connectors, how to waterproof non-waterproof speakers using bin bags and string, the quest to silence a persistent earth hum issue and last but not least: holes in buckets. All in a days work when you live and work on a ship I suppose, but still an infinite supply of interesting and tricky situations to solve. The cast have been assigned their microphones for the tour, the sound check has been done and the rehearsals are coming together nicely… if perhaps a little later than expected. All we have to do now is persist, cross our fingers for some good weather this week and on our scheduled show days and we’ll have a cracking show ready for your delectation.
For now though, I shall bid you all farewell and I’ll be in the tech booth should you wish to come and say hi at any of our shows.
Charlie Knight – Sound Engineer
Pictures by Claire Sabattié