Best Production
New Englands Regional Festival

See the Gallery of Pictures of all 17 entrants

EMACT 2000

On Thursday afternoon Bob Peters and several stallwart Concord Players met at 51 Walden to pack up the truck with the set for Jacques Brel to transport to Brandeis for the EMACT festival. The screens fit into the truck with not an inch to spare. But the "Jacques Box" that Bob had created for the backdrop wouldn't fit in even without the screens!

So Bob jumped into the shop and whipped up a rig to carry the box lying down across the back of his pickup truck.

and this was the beginning.

At Brandeis we unloaded and got all in place to run our tech that afternoon. As we had the last slot of that first night of performances, we were the first to tech. The 4 screens that made up the bulk of the Jacques Brel set were made to be suspended on rollers to tracks clamped onto two hanging bars. On the bottom of the screens were rubber wheels to carry most of the weight and allow the screens to move easily back and forth. During the performance the screens moved to different positions for each number.

At Brandeis, however, the bars hung on much longer lines and required different counter weights. During the tech the screens were hitched up and flown and set down on the rubber wheels several times each time adding counter weights to the system.

But somewhere along the line something happened - perhaps a fiber roller in one of the tracks twisted or the bolt bent. Something. We quickly realized that the screens were not going to move well enough to use during the show. Two plans were derived: put the screens into one position and rework the play around it or scrap the screens entirely. We opted for plan one and at about 11:15 that night we went on.

The show was beautiful! The cast adapted to the different screen placement like home. The audience was very warm. The adjudication, however, picked mainly on the unused screens. Well, that, and perhaps we could have had the musicians on stage, and maybe the show was a little "over choreographed" and ... well, there was enough negatives to dampen our hopes. As the festival went on it was clear that we were up against very strong competition. Some of us lost hope of getting into the finals. If we did, however, Kirsten had decided that we would go with plan B and scrap the screens and move the piano and drums onto stage. The "Jacques Box" which originally only appeared after the final number, would be used throughout the show constantly lit to diminish the effect of the blackouts.

Well, needless to say, we were among the 4 finalists and our spirits soared! We removed the screens from the bars and reset the Jacques Box off center and positioned the musicians up stage left. Many of the songs had alterations again to be made, but our cast was well up to the task. We went up next to last on Sunday night and when it was over the applause was long, loud, and enthusiastic. Here then are some images from that presentation:





and then the winner was announced...

Best Production!!

on to NERF

the New England Regional Finalists