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Stage fright by Niall O'Donovan
 

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  • I work for a theatre.

    I'm not a dancer. Nor a singer.

    I couldn't act to save my life.

    And anyway stage-fright would get the better of me.

    I'm a pretty good whistler though.

    But whistling on stage is just NOT DONE.

    It's an old theatre superstition going back to the times when theatre-hands used to be retired sailors who literally knew the ropes, and scene changes and cues were given using diferent whistles. So you didn't want someone walking around whistling a pretty ditty messing up your important scene change like some deus ex machina.

    No, you will find me back-stage.

    I'm more a behind-the-scenes man. Actually a scenery man.

    I work as a scenic painter.

    A whistling scenic painter.

    To paint a back-cloth for the theatre we use a single piece of cotton fabric (thus, no seams) measuring 24 x 12 metres.

    That's a little larger than a tennis court (doubles). That's a lot of cloth.

    Anything smaller than that we call a handkerchief.

    And then there the tools of my trade:

    A bucket of 'half-pounders': sharp, galvanized uphoulstery nails

    hammer

    ball of string

    30 mt measuring tape

    5 mt measuring tape

    3 mt straight rule

    drawing stick; preferably bamboe, with split ends to accept charcoal

    box of medium charcoal sticks

    'slobber': large block brush

    miscellaneous paint brushes

    scaling ruler

    scaled and gridded copy of the work to be painted

    Lots of paint

    Oh yes.

    And patience.

    Lots and lots of patience

    What are the tools of your trade?

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