Recently I received in the mail some DVDs containing dance concerts that I was in while in college (thanks to my wonderful dance instructor). I popped in the first one to watch with my daughter who had expressed interest in dance and was the reason that I requested the DVDs. The video was raw footage since it was taken as archival footage. So, anyhow, we watched the first piece and when it was done we sat and watched a blank screen for a couple of minutes before the next piece came on. When she asked why it was taking so long, it brought back the memories of how we had to do things back then.
Since I went to a smaller state college, the funding for technical theater was quite limited (though considerably more than my high school's budget of $0) and so we had to get creative in making each piece more individualized. Some of the dances had more than basic costumes, and a couple even had props or set pieces, but the lighting was always a challenge. Though we had a finite amount of dimmers, our console was even more limited (oh how much easier it is now with computerized consoles). So, between each piece, the stagehands would scramble around setting props, dropping in scenery, swapping gels in the side lights, and often times also re-patching lights so that each piece had it's own unique feel, and to top it off, many dancers were in concurrent pieces and had to make quick costume changes. While this all made the transition between pieces much more cumbersome, the result of each dance was worth while.
Now I look back and see what I have to work with today, or even at some of the venues I have designed in since college and am thankful for the experiences that I have had. Would I want to do it all over again, well, maybe. I still enjoy helping out my church when it has some thing on the side. At the same time, it helps me to appreciate what I have to work with today and not complain when modern technology provides its own, unique challenges.