Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Boxes full of booty (no, not that kind of booty!)

As I perused the Stage Manager's exhibits at the theatre conference I found some other items of interest, too.  Most of the kits had some sort of First Aid section, and several had Flash Lights and/or Spare Batteries, and a few had Chemical Light Sticks stowed-away.  All good things to have if the lights go out.

However, what was really interesting was that all of the portable kits I saw were BLACK.  All black.  Barely a fleck of color anywhere.  It reminded me of the picture below:

"Polar bear in a snow storm"
Now I know that black is the color of choice for all things theatre, but this doesn't make any sense.  It's not like you don't want to be able to find your tool box.  It's not like your tool box is going to be flirting around the wings and might be seen by the audience.  And guess what?  If the lights go out - you wouldn't be able to find your flashlight or Calume light sticks!  A black box in a black backstage environment with the lights out is nothing but a trip hazard or shin-buster.

Not  black ? Sacrilege!  Keel-haul the scallywag! At the very minimum, place some photoluminescent marker tape around the perimeter so that you can find it when the lights go out.  A bit of highly reflective (i.e. retroreflective) marker tape along side the photoluminescent tape would be a good idea, too - this way if you shine even the weakest of flashlights in the general direction of the toolbox, it'll light-up like a fireworks display and you can grope your way toward it a bit easier.  There is a reason that Firefighters and Liferafts both have SOLAS* type marker tape on them - so they can be seen under the worst of lighting conditions.

*SOLAS - Save Our Lives At Sea - Solas type marker tape is commonly used on road signs and highway barrier marking because it does such a darn good job of blinding you with your own headlights.

So, how about some alternatives?  OK. Lets try these:
DuraTool D00403
DuraTool D00407
Stanley 2-in-1 Mobile Work Center
(a bit black, but nothin' a bit-o-tape won't fix either)

Stanley 3-in-1 Mobile Work Center

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