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Where do you like to call the show from

Where to Call  

47 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you prefer to call the show from?

    • Booth
    • Backstage -- Corner
    • Backstage -- Directly Behind

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Have a look at This poll from a while ago.




PS- Personally I far prefer calling the show from a proper corner SL, you feel somewhat 'out of it' when calling from a box.


PPS- Perches are getting more popular now I find, especially in smaller west-end theatres where theres not much space for all the set and turns down on the deck. I shadowed the DSM on Guys and Dolls at the Picadilly a while ago and she was up on a perch. It was quite funny watching her call the show from about 6 different monitors!

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The PC/Biobox argument is an old one, and one I feel is dependant on many variables.


Prompt Corner is great, especially in proscenium arch theatres. It puts you right up with the tallent. Calling from prompt side in a black box (don't snigger, I have done it before) is odd.


The BioBox is also good, but you need certain things before you can call from there.


1. Video feeds so that you can see the stage up close and clearly

2. Audio feeds so that you can hear the actors clearly

3. 2 ASMs (minimum) so that one asm can prompt.


I have done both. Usually if there is no prompt desk on prompt side, I will not call from it - usually no desk signifies that there is a propper SM station in the biobox. Or that there is a desk on OP... I tried to call from op once... an experiance I did not enjoy.


Calling from directly back stage is one I have never heard of, and probably something I would never do. There would be no natural view of the stage, no carrying sound, nothing. It would be the same as calling the show from inside the dressing rooms or something... not practical.

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I've done a promenade show before where I called the show while hanging around at the back of the audience while the operators were in a tiny room elsewhere, watching via cameras. I used to call shows on the ship from the control room. I'll probably call shows at my new place from the control room, too. I think as we move away from "traditional" theatre spaces with a pros arch and a raised stage, etc, that the practice of calling from the side of the stage will diminish - all you need is a good view of the show - and that's often from out front.
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I always thought one of the primary reasons for calling from the side of the stage was to enable a subtle prompt to be made at the appropriate moment. It seems to be the practice recently that there is noone 'prompting' as such, in fact I have been instructed by directors NOT to prompt. So there's really no need to be at the side of the stage any more in general. After all, you normally get provided with a monitor showing a view from FoH anyway, so why not just be there. There'll generally be at least one stage manager in the wings to deal with any emergencies, leaving the DSM free to sort out a restart point etc etc away from any chaos.


I'm sure there are reasons to have a traditional prompt corner, but I agree with Bryson's view that they're gradually becoming redundant.



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Mac - Biobox? I've not come accross this term before - where's it come from?



The term used in AU for the booth - came from the terms used by projectionists as the room for the biograph, it has moved from projection into theatre a the booth at the back of the theatre. Another little Aussie idiosynchrasy, like dome and dome op (follow spot and follow spot operator), grabber gun (drill) and bump-in/out (get-in/out)

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I like to cue or call a show from the best location I can obtain!


The control room at the rear of the auditorium has its advantages as it is easier to focus on the job at hand. The down side is often inadequate show relay. From the side of the stage is closer to the performance but I usualy feel that I need a decent IR camera feed and video on a monitor. This can create light leak problems! But being on stage is more imediate and social if cues are few and far between!. A long cans lead can be advantageous for stetching your legs or giving cues from else where in the wings where visibility of the event is better.


Over the years I have learnt that personal comfort is key as you need all the control, focus and clear thinking possible if, and usually when things do not go quite accoring to plan.



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Smaller venues (blackboxes with an actual booth) here sometimes neccesitate calling the show from inside the booth to minimise sound leakage, but if at all possible, I prefer to call from prompt corner (and if there isn't one, then a music stand in the first wing) not necessarily because it's the best view of the show, but because in the event of any kind of emergency on or back stage, you are in a ready position to both render and control the assistance required.
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I prefer to call from anywhere that I have a good view of what is going on on stage as well as in the wings, so prompt corner suits me rather well. If anything happens back stage I can be extra common sense/muscle/zip up hands to sort it out, and I can see if something (or someone ~ as often the case) is running late, early, or doing something random like using the wrong entrance, I can give the ops a warning, make a plan, and even tweak the cues a little to make the show appear smoother....An extra beat before the lights come up, a slower fade of the music etc.


I realise that these are tiny (and probably unethical) measures, but surely the job of the DSM is to make the show run smoothly with no perceptible 'hiccups'. I prefer to do this by having all the information to hand.


Here we have to be careful that the art of calling a show doesn't just turn into 'reading out loud' churning out cues regardless (and often in spite) of the performance ~ [/DSM rant]


That said, It is nice to call from out front, and see what the audience is laughing at... very often I have hoards of people behind me squinting at my monitor leaning over and asking' what happened? why are they laughing?! Monitors are never very clear are they ~ maybe there is a reason for this?!

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