We hold this truth to be self evident:
That all TECHIES are created superior.
In the beginning there was the Stage, and the Stage was without lights or sets, and darkness was on the faces of the actors. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR said, "Let there be Lights!" and the TECHIES worked and wired, and there were lights. Spotlights and specials, areas and backlighting - yea, lights of all shapes, sizes and hues. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR saw the lights, that they were well aimed and focused, gelled according to the scene, and no more was there darkness on the faces of the actors. And it was good. And the evening and the morning were the First Day.
And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR looked upon the actors and saw that although they walked in light, they did walk upon a bare stage, and had no place to be, and the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR was moved to pity. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR said, "Let there be a Set!" and the TECHIES scrambled and worked, and there was a set, with platforms, wagons, stairs, and furniture of various types and sizes, each according to the need. And the actors did walk within the set, and did have a place to be. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR saw the set, that it was good, and the evening and the morning were the Second Day.
And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR saw the actors, that although they did have a place to be, they did look like fools, for they waved their hands, clutched at open air, and struck each other with nothing. And in his heart, the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR was moved to pity. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR said, "Let there be Props!" And the TECHIES worked feverishly and did buy and build, and there were props. And they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Third Day.
And the COSTUMER looked upon the actors, and saw that they did go forth in blue jeans and the COSTUMER knew that this would not due. And the COSTUMER said, "Let there be Costumes!" and the TECHIES did cut and sew and shape, and there were costumes, each sized to the actor, according to the play, and keeping in with the role. And no more did the actors go forth in blue jeans, and the COSTUMER saw the costumes, that they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Fourth Day.
And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR watched the play, and saw that the actors did wait in silence, and was moved to pity. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR said, "Let there be Sound" and the TECHIES worked and taped, and there were sounds, each according to its place and cue, all at the proper levels. And the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR heard the sounds, that they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Fifth Day.
And lo, all these works were complete in five days, showing that if God had used sufficient TECHIES in the first place, He would have finished sooner.
Behold, my son, here is wisdom. Pay heed to these words, and in the days of thy play, in the hours of thy performing, thou shalt not be caught short. For truly, it is said, pay heed to the errors of others and you shall not make them yourself, and again, as we have been told from on old, to thine own self be true.
I. Give not unto the actor his props before his time, for as surely as the sun does rise in the East and set in the West, he will lose or break them.
II. When told the placement of props by the Director, write notÝthese things in ink upon thy script for as surely as the winds blow, so shall he change his mind.
III. Speak not in large words to actors, for they are slow of thought and are easily confused.
IV. Speak not in the language of the TECHIE to actors, for they are uninitiated, and will not perceive thy meaning.
V. Tap not the head of a nail to drive it, but strike it firmly with thy strength.
VI. Keep holy the first performance, for afterwards you shall party.
VII. Keep holy the last performance, for afterwards you shall strike and then party.
VIII. Remember always that the TECHNICAL DIRECTOR is never wrong. If it appears that he is, then you obviously misunderstood him the first time.
IX. Leave not the area of the stage during the play to go and talk with the actors, for as surely as you do, you will be in danger of missing your cue and being summarily executed or worse.
X. Beware of the actors during scene changs, for they are not like unto you and are blind in the dark.
XI. Beware of actors when flying in walls, for they will stand and watch and get crushed.
XII. Take not thy cues before their time, but wait for the proper moment to do so.
XIII. Take pity on the actors, for in their roles they are as children, and must be led with gentle kindness. Thus, endeavor to speak softly and not in anger.
XIV. Listen carefully to the instructions of the Director as to how he wants things done - then do it the right way. In the days of thy work, he will see thy wisdom, give himself the credit, and rejoice.
XV. And above all, get carried away not with the glow-tape, or thy stage will be like unto an airport.
WORDS TO THE TECHIES
Remember always that thou art a TECHIE, born to walk the dark places of the stage, and know the secret ways of thy equipment. To your hands it is given to mold the dreams and thoughts of they that watch, and to make the Stage a separate place and time. Seek not, as do the actors, to go forth in light upon the stage, for though they strut and talk and put on airs, their craft does truly depend on you, to shape the dreams that they would show. Remember also that although they depend on you, you exist only to aid them. Remember that thou art a team, for thou shalt party together. My friends, be not deceived by deluded actors masquerading as TECHIES. Remember always the signs by which thou shalt recognize a true TECHIE: they move softly during scene changes, not stumbling or falling; they are silent backstage and are aware of what is happening; they can speak with knowledge of Tools; they respect another's job and aid where they can; they do not just stand and watch. Amen.
I don't know where the Techie Gospel originally came from. I got it from Katie McClancy, who doesn't know either. If you know anything regarding the origin or history of this superb document, please let me know. Be forwarned, though, that anyone claiming to be the author had better have some pretty impressive evidence...
Update March 2006: Origins revealed! I have been contacted by the author of The Techie Gospel, Mr. Ed Bentley. He writes:
In point of fact, I wrote it. In the spring of 1982, while attending Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, I was working as a theater technician while going to school. By way of description, at the time I was doing rigging for them, the main stage ran a hemp line counterweight system using sandbags, and had a light board that was practically antique. Our technical director was Kathryn Hartzell, and we built all of our sets in the newly refurbished scene shop just off the main stage. We also had a black box theater on the second floor with a more modern light board.
That spring I wrote the Techie Gospel mainly as a joke, and posted it on the bulletin board in the scene shop hallway. The American College Theater Festival was at the college that spring, and a number of the technicians asked if they could get copies to take with them. I agreed and made photocopies for anyone who wanted one.
As for evidence, I still have the original copy that I typed up on a manual typewriter, complete with typo's and strikeovers (I wasn't a great typist). Other than that I'm still in touch with several people who were there at the time and remember me writing it and handing it out. I only happened to look it up on a whim when I decided to look up technical theater, and the one website had a humor section. Imagine my surprise at seeing it there 24 years later.
Mr. Bentley, on behalf of technicians everywhere, I salute you.
You know you've been teching too long when...
...you leave the theatre and ask God to take the sun special down a few points.
...you visit London, and wonder who's the clown with the smoke gun.
...after finishing dinner, you spike all the flatware so the table will look the same tomorrow.
...you paint leaves green in autumn because "that's how the director wanted it."
...you refer to the theatre as "home" and your cue caller as "mother."
...you walk down a shady lane admiring the leaf gobos.
...you spend several hours yelling at sparrows for not mixing in enough bass.
...you take the subway home and comment that universal casters would have given a smoother ride.
How many techies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Well first of all, it's a lamp, not a lightbulb. And second of all, it the master electrician's job.
How many electricians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Just one, damn it!
How many actors does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Ten. One to screw it in, and nine to stand around saying, "I could have done that better."
How to piss off the cast... Run up to a random member of the cast, and yell nonsensical things about the exploding 'Y' bus, and then loudly declare that the left side of the lighting bridge is not on fire.
How to piss of the construction crew... Bring your teddy bear to the first meeting, and announce that Shnukums will be building with them. When you start construction, tell them you refuse to work unless Shnukums does.
How to piss off the audience... When caught in the light while moving scenery, drop to the floor in the fetal postition, and scream. Slowly crawl off stage crying and wailing.
I'm a Techie at Punahou in Hawaii. A few years backduring "Guys and Dolls", (The person who caused this choas will be known as Mr.D) Mr.D and a few other Techies were in the light booth making sure all the lights functioned properly, and Mr.D thought it would be interesting to see what Dillingham, our lords house, would look like with all the lights that were hooked up on at FULL! So Mr.D entered in lights 1 through 234 at FULL POWER! There was a flicker and Dillingham went dark! At that time Dillingham's power box was hooked up to the rest of the school campus and half of Manoa, there was a 50 block blackout! It took us over 11 hours to get the power back on. People who lived in Manoa follwed the blackened lights to Dillingham. Wayne (our god) had a royal aneurism. You can imagine how mad he was!
This page is not (nor will it ever be) complete. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate any contributions that you might have to offer. Jokes, ideas, true stories, subject to editing, of course.