Behind the scenes: Sound technicians

Wednesday, 08 May 2019

Behind the scenes: Sound technicians

Behind the scenes of the circus, professionals work day by day in the background to make the wonder, the catharsis happen, which is the essence of this art. They devote their life to the miracle of the circus and performing art. Their dedication, humility, love of circus and professional skills are all exemplary, they push the boundaries and as the technical background of an artist production is created, the impossible happens.

The sound technicians take care of the proper operation of the technical background behind the scenes and that some of the most important elements of circus art, sounds and music could contribute to the experience unexceptionably always at the perfect time.

We talked with Krisztián Szakács, leader of the sound system of the Capital Circus of Budapest about his career and the sound technician background profession.

Krisztián Szakács has interested in sound and light technology for a long time, so he graduated as a stage technician – scenic in Békéscsaba with great pleasure. His first stage job as a sound technician was The Baron's Sons, but he also studied light technology extensively. Following his dreams, he moved to Budapest, then he started to work in the Pest Theatre as a professional lighting technician, where he spent three years. He started to work in the Capital Circus two years ago, and from this January he is the leader of the sound system. Besides this he helps in a lot of festival and independent theatres as sound and lighting technicians. He teaches sound technology in the Baross Imre Institute of Artist Education.

What is Your job?

The hardest part of my job is the main rehearsal week, when I got the music materials, record it beforehand, whether there are shifts in the productions, which I collate with the artists. If there is no applause music, I notify the band of the Capital Circus who choose the most suitable music for the production. If she insists on the playback music, then the band will join to it and that is a more complex procedure. The new performers first meet me. If this artist has a microport or she sings that needs a different soundcheck. There is a certain scenic that I write to myself and the show goes according to it. If there is a band and music I have to listen and follow live more than forty tracks, which needs a lot of attention, but I have to adjust it in every occasion. A theatre play program also helps me a lot, with which I can program and automatize a lot of thing so I can work more smoothly. (They use this program in all theatres and outdoor events.) I have to be in all shows and rehearsals, many times artists rehearse after the premier, in which I help them. If the rehearsal week is over, we have an easier time in the shows, since we attune the sound according to the instructions of the directors. I start the show; the ringmaster speaks out to me if they are ready. Then I tell the band and the light system, and if everybody is ready, I set off the gong that signals the start of the show. If there is a problem during the show, they will tell me immediately. I have a talk-back microphone with which I can reach the members of the band, if one of the tracks is left out, or they can tell me from which instruments they want less or more volume.

The sound technician is a background profession which primarily severs the performing artists and musicians, and if they do not feel themselves well on the stage, neither will the audience enjoy the performance. The director has a say in the volume to a certain limit, but it is my responsibility that I would not put the audience and the artist to a health risk. I try my best to keep the volume below 85-90 decibel, even if the applicable laws would allow more, but for the Capital Circus and me the protection of little children comes first.

Who can be a good sound technician?

It needs great commitment, willpower, interest and professional humility.

Zsuzsanna Szekáry

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