Shortly after we moved to Topeka, I became involved with Topeka Civic Theatre. While I had always had an interest in theater, work and family duties had taken precedence. But when I discovered I was staying home to be with a son who wasn’t there, I decided I could once again engage in a very time consuming hobby. I auditioned for a couple of shows, and when I wasn’t cast, signed up to assist off stage.
One of the first shows I worked on was I do, I do, the musical. I was assigned to run the light board.
At that time Topeka Civic Theatre was performing at the Warehouse on The Levee, a wonderfully funky theatre venue created out of a warehouse.
I do, I do has a scene in which the actors are seated on a revolving bed. To create this effect, the tech director had put the bed on casters welded to a pole which was attached to a capstan in the basement. All of the tech crew were on headsets, and when it was time for the bed to revolve, the stage manager would call “go bed” to the two crew members stationed in the basement, who would dutifully turn the capstan which would turn the bed.
The show also has a scene in the snow, and on cue phony snow would rain down on the set. The show had a pretty long run, and before long the casters on the bed became clogged with “snow.” As the bed became harder and harder to turn, we added more and more crewmembers to the basement bed turners. I left the light board, the follow-spot operators left their spotlights and we now had about six people assigned to turn the bed.
One day, without telling anyone, the tech director changed the casters on the bed. You can imagine what happened when the stage manager called “go bed” and six enthusiastic crewmembers leaned into the capstan.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, but that bed did spin.