Final Week

Wow, here we are, the final week already. I can’t believe it. It’s now almost 00:00 and I’ve been up since 6:30am – a rather long day and it’s now time for bed. It’s been a great day – just long. There is so much to write about and some cool pictures to show you. I’ll get you up-to-date as soon as I can but as you see, these are long days that don’t allow for anything much more than eat, sleep and work.

Thanks again for the emails, they are much appreciated. I’ll catch up ASAP. I was going to catch up today as I had a couple of hours free but I left my laptop in the car and all my emails were on it so I couldn’t first of all read them and then reply.

Back as soon as I can,

Matt

28th July 1988

What’s so good about that date? Hmmmm, I wonder. Anyhoo, I’m extra busy at the moment so I’ll try and do some writing asap. Thanks for checking. I can only see things getting busier as we prepare to start taking things back down. How time has flown…

Matt

Yesterday

Here we are at day 30 – well over half way. I can’t believe how fast it’s going. Yesterday we were able to watch the production by the core cast: Our Story Goes On… It was just as amazing as the first time I saw it. I can’t wait to see it again. In the evening, we were just minding our own business doing our jobs under the stage and then some family members turned up: Mum, Dad and younger brother. They were expected this time. After the pageant we went to Annies for frozen custard – fab again.

In other news, I have found out about vom. Vom is short for vomitorium. Here is what wikipedia says:

Vomitorium

A popular misconception is that the Romans made use of a room called a vomitorium for the express purpose of vomiting between meals to make room for more food. Only a very small minority of the highest classes indulged in the practice of deliberately vomiting[citation needed]. A vomitorium is actually an entirely unrelated architectural feature – a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheatre, an exit through which the crowds could “spew out” at the end of a show. [2] [3]

Vomitoria are still found in some theatres. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, for instance, has vomitoria in two of its theatres, the outdoor Elizabethan Stage and the Angus Bowmer Theatre. The voms, as they are called, allow actors to mount the stage from passageways cut into the amphitheatre. The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota has two permanent voms, one at stage left and one at stage right, of its thrust stage.

End wikipedia quote.

OK, so, the paragraph about the stage type of vomitorium is accurate because my stage manager says so! Our vom is in the middle of the stage, lift 2. So there we go.

Looking up the light tower.

I have a picture of our resident rabbit on Eds camera but I can’t get it off right now because I don’t have the cable. Oh well!

Right, I think that’s all for now. I’ll be back.

Matt

Goodbye Set-up Crew

A rather tough day today – time to say goodbye to the setup crew. I’ve met and worked with some amazing people who have supported me, uplifted me, inspired me and taught me. Something we’ve said a lot recently (those who are on the crew or work closely with the crew will laugh at this) – unbelievable! It really is all I can say. The fact that we all ended up in the same place at the same time and had such an incredible experience isn’t coincidence. I’m so grateful to have associated with such fine people.

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to meet with Elder Perry from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles which was absolutely fantastic. The following photos are Copyright © 2007 R.Lawrence Porter and used with permission.

Ed meeting Elder Perry with me looking absolutely terrible in the background. Next (ish) to me is Jared the Texan.

Me meeting Elder Perry with nothing absolutely terrible in the background.

Both the setup and strike crew with John Ricks and the work crew supervisor Lemuel Leavitt with Elder Perry and his wife.

And now a couple of photos by me:

A big juicy dragonfly that was originally on my back.

The Nauvoo Brass Band at the pageant site. They are absolutely fantastically amazing. I could listen to them all day. Today I challenged them to play Mexican Hat for me - I'll keep you updated on that one. There'll certainly be video footage if they do.

One of the light towers with one of the many amazing Nauvoo sunsets in the background.

The rest of the week had been great, we’ve got rather wet here and there but not one of the performances has been rained off yet. Back to today, we said our goodbyes and went on our way not knowing when we’d see each other again. During the day, we did some lift cues for the yellow cast and then practised lift cues in the afternoon as we were training the new crew. That reminds me – I need to find out if vom really means vom. In the evening, we had a great performance. The new crew members did so great.

In the afternoon (going backwards here!) we had the opportunity to see the blue cast talent show. There certainly was some real talent there, most entertaining and enjoyable. Now forwards to the end of tonights performance – I was able to meet Jakes family; so nice. It was most difficult to stop talking and get back to work.

Well, that’s all for now, (you’ve had a treat today – 6 pictures!) it’s coming up to 1am. Time for bed. Remember, let me know if you have any questions.

Matt

Day Something (Half Way Ish)

Hi All, today is half way ish. It might actually be exactly half way but it’s 00:20 so I’m not going to work it out.

Today has been cool, there was a huge storm this morning. We were down at the site and had finally got the props out and got a few other things ready when the nice blue sky was already starting to turn gray. It turned really fast and there were clouds moving in all directions, at one point it looked like a funnel was forming – I’ll show you the video.

We dragged the props inside as fast as we could, took care of a few other things and then went back up to the JSA (Joseph Smith Academy). I took the opportunity to get some washing done and managed to make a few calls as well.

After a couple of hours the rain stopped and we were back at the site digging ditches to drain under the stage. Once we’d dug the ditches we needed to pump the water further away. That went great at the start but the filters got clogged really easily. Eric, a good friend and wireless comms technician was working on one of the pumps and needed to test it. Just as he plugged it in I walked right in front of him and saw a big cloud of brown coming towards me. I thought ‘Hmm that’s not right’ and then it was in my face and all down my front. Here is the result:

It's a good job I wasn't too tired. Otherwise it could have been disastrous.

In the evening we had a great performance that went really really well. We’ve also got new wireless headsets so there’s much less annoyance without all the static in your ear for 1hr 20mins.

That’s all for now, I’m really tired and I have a runny nose. Goodnight!

Past Few Days…

Well, I don’t know where to start because the last few days have been a blur! It’s day of rest again already – fantastic. It’s gone way too fast though. I woke up at around 9:15am, got ready for the lesson and went to the lesson at 10:00am. After the lesson we went to brunch, I had (you guessed it) cereal – it’s so hard to start a day without it. It goes down so nicely.

After brunch we had to go and setup the Nauvoo room for the 1:00pm Sacrament meeting. After sacrament meeting Ed and I spent the next two hours on the phone home. After that, Ed and I spent some time with Jared and his parents – absolutely fab! After that at 7:00pm we went to see the Sunday Sociable (Our Story Goes On…) which was just as amazing as ever. I could see it another 100 times. After that, I’m writing a blog post. It’s been a great day, kept on moving from one thing to the next.

The past few performances have all been amazing. Last night we had a problem with one of the houses on stage that moves up and down (like an elevator). All the cables that guide it up and down the rails snapped and then it derailed and stopped – it was most of the way up but it looked odd. After about 20 minutes work we were able to get it the rest of the way up. Fortunately we were able to get it back down again at the end of the show. The team effort involved was just overwhelming – everyone played an important part in making sure the pageant wasn’t disrupted wether it was fixing the house or covering cues for someone else who had to work on the house.

That’s all I can think of for now really! I’ve got some cool photos for you. The following photos are Copyright © 2007 R.Lawrence Porter and used with permission.

A view of the stage from the sound desk. I'm glad someone knows how to make it work. The green backlit screens you can see in the racks on the left hand side of the photo are all the receivers for the wireless microphones.

Jake and Grant - two fantastic people. Here the stage piece is at Vom (I'm told it's called that because it looks like the stage is vomiting people, I'll have to confirm that) so that the cast can walk up it in the funeral scene.

Ed under the stage at lift two. Lift two is currently at vom. You can see me in the background with one of the prop blankets around me to keep me warm - believe it or not it WAS chilly. It wasn't like this last year.

The complete temple structure from backstage. Absolutely fantastic! It takes approx 13 people to bring it down at the end of the pageant.

Two randomers I decided to feature in the blog.

The two randomers I featured only a moment ago. This was taken at around 10:30pm - towards the end of a day that started at around 7:00am.

And now for a couple of photos I took:

Paul as Parley P. Pratt during a daytime rehearsal with Jake Allen in the background. Touch out of focus but I haven't got another so we'll have to live with it.

Grant, Ed, Jake, Tyler and myself outside Hotel Nauvoo after a great meal.

Yep, that’s it for now. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sooooooo Cold

I haven’t spoken much about the weather yet – that’s because it hasn’t done much. At the moment it’s unseasonably freezing! Today was especially cool – probably as cool as England. I won’t complain because it makes it much easier to work.

Not a great deal has happened today, we started off by sorting out the props and moving rocks! After that, we had our district meetings and then started a full run through. The run through went great with only a few minor problems. Afterwards, we put the temple structure back down, reset the props and went to lunch. By this point, I was unexplainably tired, I was at risk of starting snapping (getting cranky (for the Americans) at people. I threw some lunch down my neck which included broccoli soup, crackers, frosties (frosted flakes), chocolate brownie, chocolate milk and lemonade.

After lunch, I crawled upstairs to collect my books for the lesson and then went back down to actually attend the lesson. It was great today – we had one of the core cast members visit and share a message with us which was really, really great.

After the lesson, we were permitted an afternoon nap – a miracle in itself. I managed to sleep from 2-5pm. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.

The performance tonight went really well and the temple structure went down without the slightest hitch – 3rd time in a row.

Now, time for a few pictures. Let’s see what I can find…

Here we go! The much talked about temple structure (without the fabric front on ) with the real temple in the background.

Temple structure from backstage.

Temple structure with the front on but without the tower.

What's in the trunk?

ME!

What happened here? It's not too hard to work out. Video coming soon.

That’s all for now! Do let me know if you have any questions.

Matt

Success!

This afternoon, Ed and I were waiting at the side of a road for the work crew supervisor to come and pick us up to carry on with a job. Behind us, across the cornfield and into the distance were some huge black clouds and we could already hear the rumbling. Within 20 minutes the storm was on us and the winds picked up as if with a flick of a switch.

Realizing it was going to get worse before it got better, we ran back over the pre-show field towards the stage. Soon after we got there the rain started and we were running all over the place putting all the props into the shipping containers backstage. The rain started coming down so hard it was heavier than having a shower. Soon after all the props were away, it started to subside. Fortunately only a few props got mildly damp.

Only 40 minutes later while everything was still dripping, we started the temple structure rehearsal. It’s the job of the crew to lower the temple structure at the end of the show and it requires a lot of effort and coordination. The stage manager selected 6 cast members to work with us under the stage while taking down the temple structure because we didn’t have enough crew members to do it. We took the temple up and down about 4 times and decided we’d cracked it. It’s great that we’ve been sent such a dedicated team of cast members.

I haven’t written about it yet but on Saturday night a great friend and under-stage manager was watching the performance as he would be leaving the following morning. Everything didn’t go quite according to plan and we were very disappointed. That’s mostly why we’ve had some cast members assigned to us and we had the practice session.

At the end of tonights show the temple went down without the slightest hitch, it was totally amazing. I know for sure the faith, prayers, practice and dedication all contributed to tonights success.

That’s all for now, I must sleep.

Cheerio,
Matt

Another Day of Rest

I’ve just realized I didn’t put anything about the Day of Rest in yesterdays post. It was so good! Nice to get some rest and just keep off my feet for a while.

Today, we woke up at 7:15 (luxury) and were down at the site for 8:00. I managed to get restroom cleaning duty! It wasn’t all that bad and it didn’t take too long. I will admit that it’s the first time I’ve scrubbed a toilet though.

After that, we just did a few general tasks on site. The only one worth mentioning was putting up a fence around some of the moving stage parts so no-one runs under them when they move. That went fine and didn’t take long.

After that, we had the rest of the day to ourselves (5* luxury). It’s been great. We were also able to attend the Nauvoo Temple.

I think that’s all for now!

Matt

Ed and I in front of the Nauvoo temple.

Drews bed. Something has gone terribly wrong. Some say it malfunctioned, others say it was done by a physical being! You decide.

Day of Rest

I’m currently writing this offline and I can’t remember where I left off so if I repeat my self I’m sorry – no refunds.

The last notable thing I can remember that I haven’t mentioned is July 4th. Erm, yeah it was ok, not much happened but there was a great firework display in the evening after the rehearsal. Check this pic out:

A 30 second exposure of a part of the firework display. I like it! I really like the silhouette of the towers.

On 5th July we had the final rehearsal before opening night on the 6th. Everything went great until the very end when we lowered the temple.

One of the pins holding the temple together wasn't in all the way and so hit the frame of the stage and bent it. Fortunately, we were able to bring it back up and put the pin in the rest of the way and carry on as normal. The frame damage is still there but it's not critical.

Opening night was fantastic. Every seat was filled so people were standing at the back. All the stage cues we had to deal with went great – even taking down the temple. That’s all I can remember – it’s two days later now.

A bug. I just had to put this in because it's so cool. I have no idea what it is though.

A real picture! From the left: Tyler, Jake, Grant, Ed and Me. Shame I only got half my face but on the others I wasn't on at all.

You decide how good this picture is! Just in case you didn't know, that's me on the left and Tyler on the right. This is on the pre-show field. On the pre-show field there are all sorts of activities to before the show. The work crew favorites are dancing and tug of war.

Me all harnessed up to go in the cherry picker!

Me in the cherry picker. I was working with one of the sound guys sawing off the long bars that weren't needed on the light towers.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep trying to update more often because it’s easier to write when it’s fresh in your mind.

Matt