Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Stage Guy

This year my wife and I couldn't afford to go on a summer vacation trip. We usually go to Las Vegas, and we're usually lucky enough to pay for the trip in winnings, but didn't want to take the chance, this year. Thanks, O.

But one of the free things in Vegas is - the latest in the new technology. Five years ahead of everybody else in display technology. I saw my first LCD advertising kiosk in a casino in vegas. They had those color LED billboards and full-color giant motion screens 'way back in the 1990s. And the first place I saw stack-coupled LCD screens was in front of a "gentlemen's club" on Fremont street. I didn't get the chance to go in to see what other wonders they had within - my wife was with me.

And now you see it everywhere. Entire stage sets made out of stacks and stacks of LCD screens coupled seamlessly together. On some shows, the screens and LED displays have completely replaced all the backdrops and lighting on the stage. "America's Got Talent" and "Dancing with the Geezers" are the best place to see examples of this state-of-the-art technology. Floodlights that tint themselves to any color completely without gels or the excessive heat once associated with theatrical lighting. Probably all pre-programmed and automated and sequenced as well, so all the producer has to do is to call up a program sequence on his computer, and the show will run, practically without the aid of the actors and performers.

But, as I was explaining this to Jill, my co-worker, she raised an interesting question. "What about the guy up in the rafters shaking down the snow flakes? You know, that old guy in the janitor suit with the white moustache? Where's he, now, huh? What are they going to do for the snow scene? "

I suppose once the new wave of technology has completed, and the latest tsunami recedes a bit, there will once again be an appreciation and rediscovery of old-fashioned stage-craft, and the guy will again have something to do.

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