DIRECTIONS FOR THE TECHIE NICHE TEST
A simple test consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions will follow this message. This test is given with the intent of finding your Techie Niche--the place in the theatre where, based on the answers you are about to give, you will best fit. (Of course, this test isn't 100 percent accurate, and I make no claims that it will be entirely accurate all of the time.)
1. The best kind of tape to use in the theatre is
(a) glo-tape. It's very useful for spike marks and props--those stupid actors would never find anything without it.
(b) duct tape. It holds anything together.
(c) gaffer's tape. It holds things down, dresses cable, and marks sliders--all without leaving a sticky residue!
(d) multi-colored PVC tape. It's so versatile.
(e) video tape, so that the whole world can have a record of the company's greatest performances.
2. Your favorite techie tool is
(a) the wireless headset. It keeps you in touch with the crew.
(b) the hammer. If it won't get that set to stay together, nothing will.
(c) the crescent wrench. It's great for tightening and loosening things.
(d) the pulley. It changes scenes faster than you can say "Heads!"
(e) the complete and thorough theatrical makeup kit.
3. How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
(a) I don't care, just get it done!
(b) I dunno...I'm still trying to figure out how anyone can do it.
(c) Only one--he just holds it, and the world revolves around him.
(d) *too drunk to answer properly*
(e) One star, three supporting players, or twenty chorus members.
4. How many techies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
(a) THIS IS BEGINNING TO GET ON MY LAST REMAINING NERVE!
(b) I still don't get it.
(c) Only one, provided that s/he has the proper training.
(d) *has now passed out on the deck*
(e) Too many, and they're all overpaid.
5. You bring food to the techies
(a) sometimes, when you think they've done a particularly good job.
(b) never. For some reason, any food you attempt to bake bursts into flames.
(d) hardly ever, but you're always willing to share what you've brought for yourself.
(e) Techies need to eat?
6. Your secret nickname for the artistic director is
(a) "The Turd Upstairs."
(b) "El Cheapo."
(c) "The First Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes."
(d) "That Guy Who Occasionally Buys Us Beer."
(e) "The Genius."
7. Your secret nickname for the technical director is
(a) That's not even funny. Respect your technical superiors.
(b) "The Genius."
(c) "The Pseudo-Genius."
(d) "That Guy Who Usually, But Not Always, Buys Us Beer."
(e) "The Great Peon."
8. Your favorite theatrical joke is
(a) You know, an actor will trip on a line of tape, and a dancer will trip on a line of tape that's been pulled up.
(b) What do you get when you make an electrician a carpenter? A bad carpenter.
(c) What do you get when you make a carpenter an electrician? A dead carpenter.
(d) What's black, crispy, and hangs from the ceiling? An actor trying to change a light bulb.
(e) Why are actor jokes so short? So techies can understand them.
9. The best theatrical prank you ever pulled was
(a) I don't pull theatrical pranks. They're dumb, immature, and they endanger everyone on staff.
(b) locking the actors out of the theatre at intermission.
(c) recording the actors' nasty gossip on the wireless and using it for self-serving purposes.
(d) replacing the water in the whiskey bottles with real whiskey and watching the actors get slowly drunk on stage.
(e) locking the techies out of the theatre at intermission.
10. You accidentally injure yourself during final dress. Your reaction is to
(a) shrug and continue working.
(b) not even notice until the assistant director points out that you're leaving little puddles of blood everywhere you go.
(c) carefully clean and bandage the wound, then go back to work.
(d) laugh very loudly (thereby disrupting the rehearsal) and begin to exchange stories of hellish accidents with your crewmates.
(e) scream, cry, and go into hysterics as the running crew carries you away to your dressing room.
11. In the theatre, the director can usually find you
(a) in the wings, going over a copy of the script.
(b) in the scene shop, fixing that nasty set problem that cropped up last night.
(c) in the booth, running cues and having strange headset discussions.
(d) on the rail, amusing yourself by drunkenly flying things in and out.
(e) in the green room, gossiping about anyone and everyone.
12. It's three hours before call on opening night, and you are
(a) talking with the director on the phone, attempting to convince her that it is simply not possible to have a live cow on stage in scene 14-A.
(b) attempting to catch a quick nap in order to stay alert during the show.
(c) already at the theatre, running all the light cues over...and over...and over...
(e) surrounded by adoring fans who inflate your ego to dangerous proportions.
13. The house opens in five minutes, and you are
(a) backstage and on headset, focused on the show and ready to roll.
(b) attempting to pound in that one protruding nail that's been bothering you for weeks.
(c) praying that you can get through the show without screwing up this time.
(d) sleeping at center stage despite the SM's repeated entreaties to get into the wings.
(e) barricaded in your dressing room, refusing to perform without a substantial raise in salary.
14. You've just finished the best show of your career. The first words out of your mouth are
(a) "I love you all, let me buy you a friendly beer or five!"
(b) "Huh-huh, COOL!"
(c) "We didn't mess it up? WE DIDN'T MESS IT UP!!!!!!"
(d) "Party at the TD's house!"
(e) "You couldn't have done it without me, you know..."
15. You've just made a complete botch of the show. The first words out of your mouth are
(a) "You guys suck, I don't know why I didn't kill you all long ago."
(b) "The lighting/sound op did it."
(c) "Hey guys, would you mind getting here a few hours early tomorrow to run cues 15 through 580?"
(d) "Let's go egg the TD's house!"
(e) "Those stupid techies, they screwed it up again."
16. It's an hour after the final show, and you are
(a) on stage and on task, directing the strike efforts.
(b) helping with strike--you want to get out of the theatre and go party.
(c) on the catwalk taking the gels down, while trying to figure out how you can make things even better for the next show.
(e) hiding out in the dressing room in an attempt to avoid having to strike.
17. Twelve hours after the final show, you are
(a) at home, sleeping.
(b) partying with the costume crew and explaining to them why building stairs is the worst job a techie can possibly have.
(c) back at the theatre planning the next show (although you're probably getting more partying than working done...)
(e) so incredibly stinking drunk that even the stage crew is avoiding you.
18. Your worst theatrical nightmare is
(a) simultaneous actor and techie union disputes.
(b) having the set fall apart.
(c) spilling Coke into the lighting desk and having to pay for it.
(d) being run over by your fellow techies, who are all too drunk to realize that they are about to crush you under a wagon.
(e) being relegated to the role of chorus member.
19. In your wildest theatrical fantasies, you imagine
(a) a raise. A big one.
(b) lots of new tools for the scene shop.
(c) running an absolutely perfect show.
(d) beer. And lots of it.
(e) thunderous applause, bouquets of roses, Tony awards, and huge movie deals.
20. In your opinion, this test has been
(a) a waste of time.
(b) mildly amusing.
(c) very funny.
(d) hysterical, especially to a bunch of drunk people.
(e) unfair to actors.
Now that you've answered all 20 questions, let's find your Techie Niche.
If you answered mostly "a," you're a Stage Manager through and through. You're the no-nonsense type--you don't take crap from anyone, because the show must go on. You make every minute count both on and off the job, and no one could accuse you of taking your work lightly. But your need to lead can sometimes make you come across as domineering and unforgiving. Relax and take care not to be too bossy.
If you answered mostly "b," you can find your Techie Niche as a Carpenter. You're not terribly creative, but you're a hard worker whom the TD can always count on to get the job done. You're a good team player who has an unreasoning hatred of electricians. For some reason you seem to have more accidents than the rest of the techies, particularly when electricity and/or power tools are involved. Be careful.
If you answered mostly "c," you're an Electrician. Whether you work in lighting, sound, or even pyrotechnics, you do it alone or with techies you trust. Your many eccentricities make you a frequent subject of green-room discussion. You enjoy heights and dark places and have a tendency to abuse your headset privileges. You're also a perfectionist--some could even accuse you of being anal--and this quirk is both a blessing and a curse.
If you answered mostly "d," congratulations--you're a Tech-Of-All-Trades. When people think of techies, they think of you--a laid-back, versatile party animal who'll do just about anything to make the show a success. But the same versatility that lets you do anything you want can also leave you without direction in the technical world. And you might want to save the binge drinking for special occasions--it's bad for your liver.
If you answered mostly "e," we're dreadfully sorry. You seem to be an Actor with an ego the size of Southeast Asia. What you need is a good swift kick in the pants--or for someone to teach you to appreciate all the work that techies do.