Read part one of the boys’ Jesus Christ Superstar blog here.
Hi – my name is Shane Allison, a Year 13 student at Wellington College, and I’m both the Director of Choreography and Technical Director for our production of Superstar next month.
The two roles are a bit of a mix and not two you’d normally expect to see on the same theatre card but as you might have guessed I have the background to go along with it Having tried many forms of dance I’ve stuck with Ballet for the last 13 years as well as being heavily involved in the lighting, staging and sound for various productions at the Brierley, our school theatre where Jesus Christ Superstar will be performed.
With work going on concurrently in both roles it’s important that I have a strong group around to help get the work done. My choreography squad has been amazing and you will be hearing more from Ben Ayto, one of my team soon.
As I’ve said, both roles present unique and interesting challenges. In the Technical Department, we’re currently working on the lighting plan and how to best utilize our 35 or so lights to produce the amazing spectacle that this show demands.
In the Brierley, our biggest difficulty with lighting has been our 24 channel DMX patch board. We’re incredibly lucky that the school invested in a USB to DMX converter box last year and Lightfactory (a New Zealand made program) to control it. This now makes our lighting incredibly simple and easy – we just match click the mouse button at the appropriate moments and voila, our scene changes.
Our production is naturally going to have a major component of Visual Media and this has been particularly frustrating as we have had to work on a solution that enables us to run all of the visuals from our lighting box without degradation of the video stream over 20 meter plus long VGA cords!
With typical Kiwi ingenuity, our solution so far seems to be an odd mix of special HDMI convertors which send signals over Ethernet so we don’t have to spend $600 on cabling and remote desk-topping computers. Hopefully that tech-speak didn’t go over everyone’s head!
Back to choreography and I spent most of my latest Sunday rehearsal working with the cast for the final number “Jesus Christ Superstar” which was challenging as this marks the last big chunk of dance to be taught.
Choreographing for a musical is a new experience for me as the dance does not only have to tell a story by itself: it also has to match up with lyrics and provide symbolism – and most importantly, all the moves also have to allow the cast to sing!
Although we are certainly faced with a myriad of challenges, we are overcoming these obstacles and are definitely on track for an amazing performance in less than four weeks. Thanks to all who are following our journey and we hope to see some of you there!
Shane Allison, Year 13
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