Tag Archives: WHP

So long, and thanks for all the biscuits

After seven-and-a-half years, my time as a member of the West Haddon Players has come to an end. I've just come back from the set break of their latest production, and the first play in a couple of years where I haven't been doing lights and sound. The time I've spent with the Players has been great fun, and it's sad to have to leave, but university beckons.

During my time with the Players, I've seen the purchase of a new mixer, a new dimmer unit, a progression of wireless microphones, and permanent wiring in our village hall. I doubt I'd fully recognise how we do things now if I were to go back in time (as one does) to when I first started with the Players.

In the style of Duke Nukem Forever, here's a list of things which have happened during my time with the Players:

  • The Euro has come into circulation
  • Afghanistan and Iraq have been invaded, and subsequently withdrawn from
  • Mark Shuttleworth went into space
  • Space shuttle Columbia disintegrated
  • SARS, BSE, foot and mouth, Avian flu and Swine flu have all threatened the entire human race, then promptly disappeared again
  • Volkswagen Beetles ceased to be manufactured
  • Concorde was taken out of service
  • HAL was envisioned, developed, and is now being retired
  • The Pirate Bay was launched, and has only just been caught up with by the authorities
  • Facebook was launched
  • Ubuntu was first released
  • Oracle has bought everybody out
  • YouTube was launched
  • The A380 design was finished and the aircraft manufactured and launched
  • The Wii was released
  • Windows Vista was released and subsequently tanked
  • The UK economy died
  • The LHC was completed, and subsequently dismantled itself

It's been great, and I wish them the best of success in future. Here endeth the self-indulgent blog post.

Abigail's Party

We've now cleared away the set from another WHP production, this time of Abigail's Party (photos!). I can't say it was the best play I've ever done; it was a departure from the normal type of comedy play we do, and although change is nice, I wouldn't want to do another like this. I did not really find it funny, and while the five actors were doing phenomenally on stage, the script itself was what I didn't like. That said, the audiences on all three nights appeared to really enjoy it, so perhaps I'm being too critical.

I was quite disappointed with how the lighting came out, and that's entirely my fault. Having set it all up and gone through the dress rehearsal, I adjusted it to cover the few dark spots there were, and thought that was the end of it. However, by the time we were half-way through the first performance it was obvious to me that there were still some not-inconsiderable dark spots in a few areas which bugged me throughout. They weren't bad enough for the audience to notice (as far as I could tell), but were in no way dismissable.

In GNOME news, I've been unable to do anything except bug triaging for the past few weeks, due to a combination of exam revision and this play. Once my exams are over (in another couple of weeks), I hope to be back to working on Totem, ready for a GIO-filled 2.24 release.

'Allo 'Allo and Totem

After a slow start, my local drama group's production of 'Allo 'Allo turned out spectacularly well, but it's all over now, and I'm into exams.

My local drama group has been rehearsing its production of 'Allo 'Allo for the past few months, and, as usual, I've been doing the sound and lights.

There wasn't much to do in the sound department this time, apart from a distorted voice coming over a radio, for which I built a distortion and clipping box specially. Unfortunately, we had to scrap using it, as the person doing the voice couldn't hear himself come out of the speakers, and thus wasn't confident about whether it was working (which it was, but he couldn't know that every time).

The lighting was more interesting initially, as the plan was to split the stage into three distinct columns, and have the "scenelets" played out in different areas, with hard-edged lighting on them, and the rest of the stage in darkness. Unfortunately, when it came to the first rehearsal on the actual set, it was found that set changes with this setup took almost five minutes each, which was unacceptable. We then changed it so that most scenelets were in the middle of the stage, which skewed my lighting a bit, but it seemed to work.

As all three performances were completely sold out, we allowed people to come to the dress rehearsal (in return for a donation towards this year's charity). This performance wasn't bad by any account, but wasn't quite as polished as I believe our performance of such a great play should be. Thankfully, everything improved in the dress rehearsal, and by the second performance, everything was going rather nicely.

The final performance, however, was a tour de force, and possibly the best performance I've seen in my numerous years with the group. The audience were as good as one could hope for, laughing at everything and anything, and appreciating every joke to its fullest. The actors were full of energy (probably because it was the last night, and they knew there was a big party awaiting them afterwards), which showed in the performance.

So that's what I've spent the last few weeks doing, and now I'm diving headfirst into some pretty important exams, which are unfortunately going to occupy my life for the next month or so. :(

In the interim, my GNOME SVN commit account has been activated, and I made my first commit to Totem, which was a simple patch to clean up the po/POTFILES.skip file. Since then, I've committed a large patch to move the Totem "skip to" dialog to a plugin, which had been my main bit of Totem hacking for a few weeks. I'm quite pleased with it. :D