NB. Some basic lingo, just to kick this off:
* FIT-UP (also known as a ‘get-in’) – when the set for a play starts being fitted into place.
* STRIKE (also known as a ‘get-out’) – when the play is over and the set is taken down.
The set for a play doesn’t just appear by magic at The Little Theatre, once the previous show is over. There isn’t a mystical remote control with buttons for each show of the season – ‘Dry Rot’, ‘Children of the Wolf’, ‘Breaking the Code’ – and when one show is done, some techy person presses the next show button, the old set disappears and the new one floats into place. It’s a lot more hard work, a lot more people are involved, and the poor director and production manager attempt to draft in as many members as possible to lend a hand.
“Many hands make light work.” (John Heywood)
So why do we need as much help as possible? Well, usually because each fit-up includes, but is not limited to:
* Floor painting
* Flat lifting
* Set dressing
* Nail banging-in
* Screwing (this is obviously screwing flats to other flats, or the floor)
* Wood sawing
* Drink fetching and tea making (indispensable)
… Amongst others.
I never thought I’d be much use at a strike / fit-up. For medical reasons I’m not allowed to lift heavy items (which includes flats and furniture) and for wimpy reasons, I’m not that great with power tools. So, short of making drinks I’m pretty much redundant to the whole process.
Then came the fit-up for ‘Dry Rot’, and what a whale of a time was had by all!
Firstly, *I* got to use power tools – ME, using actual POWER TOOLS! Admittedly it was just an electric drill-thing that screwed screws into and out of flats but having never used anything remotely like it in my life, it was the equivalent of having played with Lego for 30-odd years and then being given the materials to build a skyscraper. Entirely unused to using one of these drill-things (and still not clear on the actual name of it), I was a little bit petrified to start with, despite the fact that the only way it could possibly hurt me was if I aimed it into my actual skin. Before long, I was screwing and unscrewing with ease. The strike was just as much fun as the fit-up had been, only with a good deal of sadness running through it as we carefully destroyed the house I’d “lived” in throughout the week.
“Nothing will come of nothing.” (William Shakespeare, ‘King Lear’)
As it turns out, strikes and fit-ups are a whole lot more fun than you might think. If you’re a member who likes being busy, lending a hand in whichever way you’re called to do, and can handle being surrounded by plenty of wood-based innuendo (I won’t spell it out for you), then I would definitely encourage you to sign up for the next one (most likely ‘The Ladykillers’ in November). And in case you need more persuading, here is a brief list of reasons why you should think about coming along:
1. You get to feel useful.
2. Free drinks! (Well, one – let’s not take complete advantage, shall we?)
3. Everyone involved gets a voucher – collect three of these, and you can get a ticket to a main-stage production. Collect two, and you can get a ticket to a studio production.
4. It’s a laugh.
You then get to come and watch the show and point out to the people surrounding you, “see that skirting board / curtain / staircase? I painted / screwed / built that.”
Member or non-member, there’s always a chance to help with a fit-up and a strike. Don’t be shy….