A three-week tour to Paris is oh-so glamorous — but it is also a huge behind-the-secenes undertaking! We took a couple minutes from Production and Lighting Director John Hall’s busy schedule for a Q&A on the Paris tour.
MCB: What will Production be taking on the Paris tour?
John: We are carrying all the costumes, scenery, props, dance floor, music, and supplies we need to perform the 14 ballets in the repertory for the three weeks in Paris. Due to the difference in electrical power between the United States and Europe, our lighting system is not compatible and will stay home.
MCB: How are you getting it all there?
John: All the equipment was previously loaded into two 40’ cargo containers at our warehouse. It was taken to the Port of Miami on June 1st and loaded on an ocean freighter that sailed to Le Havre, France. From there it cleared customs and was placed onto a tractor trailer to be taken by truck to Paris. The ocean part of the trip is about 20 days. The rest will be trucking. It will arrive at Le Théâtre du Châtelet on July 2 for our load-in. The return trip is the same.
MCB: What is Le Théâtre du Châtelet like?
John: The theatre was built in 1862 and it’s right on the Seine. My impressions after the February scouting trip I took to Paris is that Le Châtelet is a well run professional facility that is well equipped to handle MCB. The performance space will be comparable to the Broward Center, while the auditorium seats approximately 2,000 people. The theater got a renovation in 1999.
MCB: How will it be different working in a foreign theater?
John: The first difference will be language, of course. There was a lot of English spoken when I went in February, but I’m sure there will be a lot of finger pointing and head nodding! We are learning the basic theatrical terms in French to try to help the process; we are in their country after all! After that there are work rule differences and different departments have different responsibilities. For example, in the U.S., our props department is responsible for the orchestra pit setup among many other things. At Le Châtelet, the props department only handles actual performer used props. There is a separate department for the orchestra pit.
MCB: How many people from Production will be traveling to Paris?
John: We have seven members of the Production team coming along: myself, our stage manager, carpenter, head props, head electrician, electrician, and head sound. Two members of the Wardrobe department will travel with us as well: the costume designer/director and the wardrobe master.