Behind the Scenes: Technical Director Style

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By Michael L. Davenport

I'm Davenport, the Technical Director for the 2017 July One-Acts. As Technical Director, I'm responsible for the things which are bolted down, like the set and the lights. I'm also responsible for some heavy things which aren't bolted down, like the risers.

Yeah, that's a good way to think about it. If it's heavy, I was probably responsible for it. Not dramatically "heavy" — those things aren't my problem. Literally heavy.

The risers are a good example of the challenge the One-Acts pose. Two different directors used the risers, so there was a lot of back-and-forth about how big exactly those risers should be. The risers had to be perfect for two different shows. And helpful people would say, "Why are you building risers? KWLT already has risers in the shed." And I'd say, "Yeah, but we need to build our own riser, because [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]."

The biggest challenge, personally, was not building things. I really, really like building things. But being the Technical Director is more about delegation — when you have a dozen people at build, you need to keep all of them busy for the sake of utility. One has to avoid putting down the clipboard and picking up a screwdriver, no matter how tempting that screwdriver is. One director was talking about a prop he wanted, and I had to say, "I would love to make this prop. Here's how I would do it. But I can't make it for you, because then I'd be making this awesome prop and not doing my actual job." That's hard.

Finally, I would like to thank Legally Blonde for leaving us so much free wood in the shed.