Meet the Team: Tim tinkers with lights and sound
Tuesday 9 July 2019
We interviewed Tim Blundell, Coordinator Operations, to know about his time behind the curtains.
When did you start working at the FAC and why?
Started in late March 2017. Both my wife and I are from the Eastern suburbs and after 20 odd years onstage/touring doing 60 hour weeks etc it was time to become a ‘normal’ person and work more suitable hours to starting a family!
Your favourite show that you have worked on or seen here?
Tex Perkins: The Man In Black. It’s been on the road for quite some time but as I’ve always worked at night, I’d never been able to see it…until it came to FAC! Great show that explores the music of Johnny Cash.
I was only three or four months out of uni and had always been a fan of Neil Finn and managed to work on his first solo tour. With rock’n’roll, cues/instructions are handed out once and with no warning. I heard my cue but then panicked when everything else turned off and my followspot remained on, pointing at Neil standing centre stage…!!! Luckily I’d heard correctly and then Neil and myself performed five songs solo and acoustic for 20 minutes. There was a photo in the paper taken during that segment of the concert that I have tucked away.
Which shows this season are you looking forward to?
Lady Beatle – have always loved another artist's interpretation of well known songs.
Tall tales but true?
I once kneeled, hunched over, nose to nose with another stage hand behind a couch during an entire act of opera (for about 45 minutes). The quick scene change had only been composed with about 90 seconds of music and the crew movements had to be choreographed to ensure that it all went well and on time. This evening, it didn’t go well and by the time I’d completed my part, the curtain was about to rise and the Stage Manager was yelling “Down! Down!” so myself and the other stage hand hid behind the couch. The soprano hit an awkward note in her aria when she came upstage singing and saw the two of us hiding behind the couch!
Best thing about Frankston?
That we’re a team and back each other up through the good, the bad and the hilarious.
Favourite food and drink?
To buy - real Italian pizza. To make - Jumbalaya or 8hr slow cooked ragu. To drink - tea or cracking IPA or stout.
Funniest question you have been asked?
It was more of a look – was at a shopping centre in Canberra. I was on tour with David Strassman and needed to buy a hairbrush to give some of the puppets – especially Sid The Beaver – a good groom. Being bald, the young checkout operator seemed quite confused and looked at the brush and then my head and then back to the brush… especially as it was the only item I was buying!
Funniest thing an audience member has done?
When touring with the production of The Gruffalo, there’s a section where the Gruffalo asks the audience where Mouse is (she’s hiding between Gruffalo’s legs). One little kid, not to be smart or show off, had clearly learnt a few anatomical lessons recently and with all the ferocity that a 5 year old can muster, stood up, pointed and screamed at the top of his lungs “It’s under your penis! It’s under your penis!!”. The whole theatre – including the cast and myself – were laughing with tears streaming down our faces.
Who are the friendliest/funniest celebrities you have worked with?
Lisa McClune is fabulous. I had the joy of working with her on The Sound of Music, looking after the Von Trapp children. Hugh Jackman is also the nice guy that everyone says he is. Majority of them are quite nice and happily interact with the crew. There are a few that have egos that are far too big for their boots or stare down their noses at you but luckily they are few and far between.
Most bizarre rider you have received?
It was for a magic/illusion show. They required a dozen white eggs and six oranges no greater than 18cm in diameter per show. I also had to book out a meeting room that had natural light for a fortnight and turn that into the ’home’ of the 10 doves used in the show.
Do you have any superstitions?
Yes. Saying William Shakespeare’s Scottish play. Can't name it here for obvious reasons! Working on it is fine but I have worked on too many shows where it’s been said – even for fun – and terrible things have gone wrong. I also can’t/won’t operate a followspot with my shoes on!
Best solution you worked out for a problem?
I can’t think of anything in particular but in theatre, cast and crew are constantly fixing props on the run and covering little bits and pieces so that audiences don’t notice a thing. 99% of the time, when something has gone crazy wrong backstage, the audience will be none the wiser – the other 1% they’ll swear black and blue that something did go wrong but it didn’t…!