Bucket Brigade/Fireline: To quickly move many small loads, stand shoulder to shoulder in a line from the origin to the destination. DO NOT MOVE unless instructed to. Pass each item carefully from the person giving it to you to the next person in line. COMMUNICATE! If there is a hold up, speak up, “Slower” or “Stop” or “Ready”
Folding a Drop or Curtain: 1) Do it how the Head Carp says. OR 2) Sweep and dry mop the stage. Lay the curtain out flat on the stage, with the facing side UP! Repeat careful folds from the bottom to the top until the desired storage width is achieved. Fold each end to the center. Repeat as many times as needed. Leave a gap in the middle large enough to facilitate folding the stage right side onto the stage left side for storage.
Tying on a Drop or Curtain: Usually the best practice is to start tying a drop or curtain on at the center of the pipe. The drop will have a “Centerline” mark, or the tie-lines will be a different color. Your Crew Lead will give you specific instruction about Legs as they don’t reach the center and will be different for every show. Always tie drops and curtains as you would your shoes, with a bow knot. You may be asked to tie an “opera knot,” ask someone to show you their version of this knot. There are slight variations.
Groundplan, Section, and Projection: A Groundplan is a 2D drawing as if the roof of the theater has been removed and you are looking, with a bird’s-eye view down onto the stage floor. A Section is a 2D drawing as if the side of the building has been removed and you are looking sideways at the set. A Projection is a 2D drawing of the set as if you were looking from a seat in the audience at the stage.
Light Plot, Stage Plot, etc.: When someone refers to a plot, they are usually talking about a groundplan specific to their department. A light plot informs electricians on where to hang lights, a stage plot shows locations of scenic elements or where performers will be and where their equipment must be placed during a show.
Carrying truss and flats safely: Although it may seem counterintuitive, a large piece of Aluminum Truss can be carried most comfortably by 2 workers grabbing opposite corners of the truss and walking the same direction. Carrying a flat with matching grips means that the grips face each other, grab the flat with opposite hands “high” and opposite hands “low” so that you could tip the flat without swapping hands.
Walking up a Flat: One person stands at the bottom edge of the flat and places their foot at the center of the flat against the bottom edge, bracing it. The other crew member(s) lift the top of the flat and then, when the top of the flat is above their head, continues pushing up while walking forward until the flat is vertical. (Note: this procedure can be done in reverse to lower a flat.) All these procedures work with long objects like pipes or lumber in much the same way.
Floating a Flat: A flat without protrusions can be lowered to the ground by bracing the bottom edge and letting it fall on its own with permission of the Head Carpenter. The air pressure being pushed by the flat will slow its fall as it nears the ground. To do this, the area must be cleared and clean, and an announcement that the procedure is being used must be made so that no one interferes with the flat as it falls. A hero trying to “catch” the falling flat will break the flat and injure themselves.
Assembling Truss: When connecting truss together make sure the diagonals are making “V”s or “A”s at the faceplate. Depending on the truss in question, you may have to flip and Doe-See-Doe the piece to make it fit.
Dispose of bad rigging equipment: Always remove damaged or potentially damaged rigging equipment from service. ALL rigging equipment is rated for use only if it is in proper working order. A shackle with a tiny crack is worthless. NEVER replace or substitute components (i.e. pins of shackle, bolts from turnbuckles) of rigging hardware, it may fit but they are not interchangeable. ALWAYS let the Rigging Lead know when you think you find damage or if pieces of equipment don’t fit properly. Never force rigging equipment!
Knots: There are two knots you are required to know. The Bowline and the Clove Hitch. There are many online resources to learn these knots and every stagehand must be able to tie them. Using these knots correctly takes some experience. A good guideline is that a clove hitch is, 90% of the time, used for tying around an object like a pipe. The bowline creates a loop that does not change size.
You should learn/practice these knots ahead of time, but there will be time and opportunity to practice and multiple chances for success during testing.
Other recommended knots: Trucker’s Hitch, Prusik, Sheet Bend, Half Hitch, and Shoelace Knot (how most people tie their shoes)
Coiling Cables: Unless otherwise instructed, coil cables over-under. If you have questions about this technique, you can seek out YouTube videos or related websites. Never wrap the cable around your elbow.
“THANK YOU, ###!”: Especially during a load in and out, if you hear a warning that an action is being taken it is very desirable to repeat the warning after looking around and becoming aware of the situation. i.e., The Flyman says, “Batten coming in!” Repeat, “Thank you, Batten coming in!”
Doe-See-Doe, Flip, and Tip: “Doe-See-Doe” means to leave the top up, the bottom down, and to rotate the object, or yourself, around the object so that it doesn’t change position but faces a different direction. “Flip” means, like an acrobat, to turn the object so that the top is now on the bottom and the bottom on the top. “Tip” means to turn the object 90º so that the top and bottom are now on the side.