Ballet San Jose’s Production Stage Manager Les Reinhardt shared this fun comic from Q2Q Comics yesterday in anticipation of our MasterPieces performance. One of the works on the program, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, features heavy “fog” on stage, actually termed haze and smoke. Here’s some fun facts about how we get all of that smoke on stage!
Production uses 5 hazers and 1 handheld smoker to create the desired effect for In the Upper Room. The hazers run for 20 minutes before the piece begins (while you’re enjoying your intermission cocktail), with fans pushing the haze into the stage, as well as a fan above the stage pushing any rising haze back down. The entire backstage area is completely filled with haze by the time the ballet gets started.
Tharp’s request to her original designers was, “I don’t care how you do it, they must just appear out of nowhere.” With this direction in mind, the haze is monitored constantly throughout the piece, and hazers may be turned off and on to maintain the “even, featureless haze.”
Stager Shelley Washington, who is back in the studios this week, told our production staff, “The haze is ready when you can’t see each other when standing on stage.” Incredible!