Monday, August 13, 2007

A Hot First Night

When the Folklorama planning committee was deciding on the venue this year our choices were Sisler High School, where it was held last year and Tec Voc where it had been the previous 2 years. T.V. had a large restaurant-sized kitchen and it had a excellent quality theatre equipped with all the state of art equipment we need. The knock against T.V. was it's lack of air conditioning which meant the theatre got uncomfortably hot for the audience and performers. The choice of Sisler (for me anyways) was popular because of the cool air conditioned gym which accommodated the food, bar and the main stage entertainment. Last night the AC was mysteriously absent which meant a stuffy sweaty gymnasium. It's not like it was sweltering hot outside, fortunately open doors provided some relief from the heat. Seeing the members of taiko sweating on stage for 3 shows reminded me of the Tec Voc days.

All that aside, I thought the show went off without any major hitches, all three shows were under the allotted 45 minute time period and the flow of the show worked well. I was pleasantly amazed by how well the Ondo/crowd participation dance went. The members of the Aurora dancers invited VIP's and members of the audience up on stage (and at the sides of the stage) to learn a simple circle dance. Last year when we tried to get people up to dance to Eijanaika the response was lukewarm at best. Last night the stage was overflowing with guests and I would say it was a surprising success!

Some other observations:
-thought the lighting could have been a little lighter, though when Aurora danced their kimonos shimmered as the light seemed to bath them in a beautiful moonlight effect.
-Judo before the 2nd and 3rd main shows worked well, it gave them more time to demonstrate their sport and with Wayne providing commentary it was informative for those who were interested. Too bad there wasn't much of a crowd before and during the 3rd show, hopefully it'll pickup during the week.
-Hinode had some new pieces (to me at least) and having them close the show with 3 consecutive songs wraps up the show on a high. I know Pam is gonna give me shit for all the flash photography in the crowd, but the best I can do is have the emcee mention it. So far no one from Hinode has given Sumi or I any grief about the stage or lighting, but the week is early.

I saw a peek at the numbers so far and it seems first night attendance is it's lowest since 2004. Food will be the biggest issue since some of the dishes had to be tendered out and our costs will be higher. If we can maintain last years $ (which was significantly lower than 2005), I think we'll be satisfied. The absence of sushi at the end of the week will be a killer, I guarantee it.

Monday's show will be similar with Aurora dancing again, but with singer Shayna Paulicelli returning for a third year, to add some sweet music to the show. Supposeably the temperature is reaching a high of 29c, so if the air conditioning isn't repaired by show time, expect good beer sales.

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