Paul Allen – Sound Operator 2
This was taken from the Priscilla On Stage Website – priscillaonstage.com
The sound operator is in charge of mixing both the cast vocals and the band live throughout the show. In the teching period we’ll have sound operators on stage furiously running around fixing mic positions, as well as people on the sound desk mixing the levels. So during the tech we find a general pre-set of the levels, but it is just a rough mark.
All it takes is for one of the cast to not be feeling well and singing quieter, for you to have to push their levels higher to compensate. The same thing can happen with the band, when we have people into cover who sit a little further away from the mics. You have to constantly be on the ball.
The sound desk looks very complicated, but once you know your way around there is a lot of repetition to all the knobs and switches. Go West is a busy number on the sound desk. In Go West, there are so many song and dialogue parts, you have to bring the band down quietly so the audience can hear the vocals, whilst keeping the energy levels up. All the songs in Priscilla are so well known you have to make sure that you are getting across everything that people are expecting to hear.
I’ve worked on Spring Awakening, Joseph, Art House’s UK Tour. As always it is more who you know than what you know, when trying to break in. It’s a case of dropping your CV off to people. It took me a good six months of dropping my CV to West End theatres before I got a break. It’s about starting at the bottom and slowly working your way up.
My favourite parts of Priscilla are Macarthur Park and Hot Stuff, particularly when you are working on the sound desk. Just before Macarthur Park, the show has slowed down a bit and with Macarthur Park the energy levels of the audience pick right up again.
September 27, 2012 sound engineer