Life in progress


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A Day at the Opera

My trip to Ottawa to go backstage at the National Arts Centre was amazing! I managed to talk to a few of the staff members, including stage managers, prop builders, and lighting staff, I ate lunch in the green room, and took loads of photos.

Photo from one of the box seats

Photo from one of the box seats

There are four stages there; the seating for the largest is above.

View from the back of the stage

View from the back of the stage

I found out some handy tidbits of info. It is indeed possible to get horses on stage (in my novel, my character uses horses in his magic act). I was told they’ve had an elephant on this stage.

The stage will also hold a thirty foot ladder

The stage will also hold a thirty foot ladder

My novel also has a ladder as a prop. I discovered yesterday how tall it can be – and also how they would set it up so it won’t fall.

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The backstage corridors are like a maze. I got lost.

The ladies chorus dressing room

The ladies chorus dressing room

Getting ready to go onstage

Getting ready to go onstage

(No, that’s not me.)

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I had to find out what this was!

Apparently, a vomitory in a theatre isn’t somewhere you go to upchuck your lunch. It’s a quick exit from the stage. I learned something new!

I actually learned a lot of things–details–I will use in my novel. Even if the whole ten hour trip results in the fact that I know how to get a large animal on stage, that I know how many rungs my magician’s assistant will have to climb and whether they enter and exit stage left or right–and all this results in a couple of sentences or a paragraph–I will have accurate details! An essential part of any novel worth its weight, in my estimation.

Exit stage right

Exit stage right