In the spring of 1989 our first production was a Hispanic Theatre Festival which was made up of two one-act plays.
The first play, La Hiel Nuestra de Cada Dia, was performed in Spanish and the second play, Leaves from Hell, was performed in English.
For the first play a simple one room box set was set up in front of the set for the second play and then removed during the intermission.
The Spanish speaking cast was made up of all adult non-students.
Although I asked many times I never got an English translation of the script.
My limited knowledge of French was of no use to help me light this Spanish play.
I had a native Spanish speaking student who sat with me during a run through of the play whispering to me what was going on.
It was a bit frustrating for me because several time during the play I would ask what is going on and she would say: "Oh it's not important, they're just talking".
Somehow I was able to create the lighting and cues for the play.
The second play was in English so I had a better chance of understanding it.
The entire cast was made up of college students, including our chairperson's daughter.
The play was set in some un-named Latin American country and dealt with a corrupt government, torture and other assorted evils.
The set was a stylized military base with camouflage nets, barbed wire, ammo boxes and real rifles.
Sure what could go wrong.
We had a student who had several rifles that were kept in a gun locker at the campus police office and brought over for each show.
I do not think that I had worked on a play since high school that used real guns onstage.
Unlike "The King and I" we did not fire any of the rifles but did use a blank gun for one effect.
During one scene a woman is thrown against a wall and shot.
The wall had been prepared with several small holes drilled through it and half of a plastic bowl attached to the back.
As the woman was thrown against the wall and the gun was fired stage blood was poured into the cup.
The effect was very real but the director always wanted the blackout to come too soon and many in the audience never got to see the blood.
After each show the fake blood was washed off the wall.
Looking over the program I was reminded of the number of good students we had at that time and the good job that they did.
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