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Ask Matt ... how actors see in the dark

Q. During stage performances, both at the Flat Rock Playhouse and the Hendersonville Community Theatre, how do actors find their marks when the stage goes dark during set changes?

“The trick is something called glow tape,” said Chris Simpson, Technical Director at the Flat Rock Playhouse. The product the Playhouse uses does exactly that – it glows in the dark. Glow Tape is used throughout the theatre industry for marking light switches, prop locations, and of course, actors’ positions. The tape is flexible, durable and easy to use.
Now the secret is out. “An audience member with a keen eye can notice it,” said Simpson. “It has a greenish-yellow look to it.” The Playhouse uses it as a landing strip of dots or dashes to direct actors back offstage while in blackout mode. The glow tape does not last an entire performance but it only takes a few seconds to recharge the tape by the stage crew. During the intermission, patrons might notice black-clothed technicians walking around with flashlights “recharging” the glow tape.
The Hendersonville Community Theatre (HCT) on Washington Street does not use glow tape because their system is fairly simple. “The actors are in the wings,” said Technical Director Bob Reece. “They know where they are heading and they just move to their positions when the blackout occurs.” The lighting operator hits the lights when the actors are in place. Break a leg!

Q. What’s the status on the old Valley Hill School building? Wasn’t it supposed to be torn down by now?

Yes, but it’s still standing. County officials said that they are still working with court-appointed officers tasked to sell the property which was once the Pathway Christian Academy. The 3.6-acre tract is zoned residential and the listed tax value is $427,100, but with the added cost of debris removal and renovation, the market value is probably much less than that. The property contains two brick structures, a gym and a cafeteria, both of which have questionable potential for reuse.

Q. What is going into the space at Pardee occupied by the EMS and Rescue Squad now that they have moved their operations up the road to the joint facility on the old Balfour School property on US 25 North?

It is my understanding that Henderson County has determined that it has no further use for the site for emergency medical purposes. EMS was leasing some 5,600 square feet of the brick building for administrative and operations space and about 3,000 square feet for apparatus (six ambulance bays). The property is only about 0.2 acre but it is prime real estate next to the hospital’s main entrance on Justice Street. The future use is now in the hands of Pardee Hospital. I suspect that Pardee will remove the structure. Whether the hospital uses the site for another building or just levels and landscapes the site as a grassy enhancement remains to be seen.


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