Blinding Spotlight

For years I had emceed this particular event for free. They had little budgets and I was happy to help out. The last time I emceed the event the lighting technician manning the spotlight caused me grief. All went well in rehearsal. In one part, a crucial part, I announced the debutants as they came to the stage with their partners. Most of the evening had gone well until one part where all house lights went down and only a spot light remained. The spotlight was on me.

I tried to face the audience and read the names on the script at the same time. The spotlight was like a flame thrower.

It was so bright I could not see too well. As it was held in an ex serviceman’s club, I can only assume that the spotlight may have once been used to spot energy aircraft miles away. And now, it’s living out the rest of its life in the Ingleburn RSL function room.

No Recovery

Even with my rapid blinking and squinting my eyes could not recover and my poor eyes felt if they were about to burst. There were halo effects and splotches as I tried to read the page. Odd images covered the page as I read words incorrectly. The audience watched. I asked the spotlight man to turn his spotlight down. He was confused. It was a spotlight to illuminate the emcee–and that’s what he was doing. I managed to finish with quite a few mistakes and the evening wore on. I asked a second time. No change. I battled on and made a few mistakes as the writing was very hard to see. My eyes were creating their colours.

The Organiser from Hell

At the end of the night I invited the organiser to the stage (this was written on the run sheet). She took the microphone from me and thanked everyone for their efforts. Except me. Off stage and as I was about to leave she abused me for introducing an elder incorrectly. I explained I was blinded by the spotlight and could not read the names correctly. She walked away.

The next year they asked me to emcee again. I declined. They kept calling…

There are moments in emceeing where the organiser doesn’t understand the difficulties. The saddest part is when you are taken for granted. Of the many hundreds of events I have emceed I have never had trouble with a spotlight except for this one time.