Incandescence - Elemental - Bolivia
The first time large scale theatrical circus had ever been presented in Bolivia. We played in Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz. None of the venues had roofs suitable for flying so a massive scaff ground support structure was built from which we flew the mothergrid and speakers.
The steelwork required many local men to put together and we had to have two systems leapfrogging to get the shows done.
Bolivia does seem to have truss and lights, but it is all of...questionable quality...I think is the kindest way to put it. The truss is all home made and welded and kind of agricultural in style. The lights were various flavours of Chinese things, and the Parcans looked like they had been recovered from a train crash.
None of the crew spoke any English, but the promoters were on site at all times to help us out and they were great. The top guy actually flew out to London before the tour to meet with Satya and I to discuss the rig. We then had Satya and our rigger Keylor fly out to Bolivia to see the kit before I started drawing up the stage plans.
The nature of the stage and rig meant we could not have an advance truss or any follow spots so I had to devise a way to cantilever some of our stage trusses out so we had some resemblance of keylight. But it all looked doable
Once we arrived in Cochabamba the problems started. The first venue had changed location because of some presidential do. Then the rigging team were not entirely sure how to attach anything. The generator was lost. The decking sheets were made of lowest grade ply that actually had holes in it. It was not level - at all.
It all got built though and we started tech rehearsals. At one point I went down to look at the dimmers and distro and noticed only four Camlocks......
Where is the earth cable? Donde esta cable de tierra? They guiltily admitted that it had been left in Santa Cruz. I told them that we would not get back on the stage until this was fixed, so they turned up with 100m of household T&E cable and took it out to a tiny groundspike stuck in a flowerbed outside. They thought I was being really picky when I didn't much care for it.
But they were willing. I got all the lights working, in the positions I asked for, and we had all the right masking and eventually the staging got fixed.
The PA was actually really good, A genuine Meyer system. Adam Honeyman our sound engineer and I had both brought our own desks with us, which was a very wise move. The show went on to play in the Capital, La Paz and finally in Santa Cruz. Hard work, but the people were great and the whole thing very rewarding to do.
Photography by James Loudon