The crew fetch radios from the charging dock, attach the earpiece and microphone, and check they have a photocopy of their cue list in their pocket. While actors take part in a dance-rehearsal on stage, Steve and Amy, the Assistant Stage Manager, run through the pre-show check. Using the show's props bible, they walk around the various locations where props are stored with Steve reading out the list and Amy checking the items are present. A pillow is missing. Steve quickly finds it in the MSD and replaces it in the correct position.
Now the warm-ups and dance rehearsal are complete, Darren, Simon and Steve wheel the tables into place on stage, placing them exactly on the markers (strips of red tape on the stage) and applying the brakes. There is another set of markers further upstage for the next scene, when an actor will move the table and convert it into a bed.
Steve fixes the candelabras into the holes in the table. Simon fixes the two sides of the tablecloth together but they don't match up on the side nearest the audience - one is longer than the other. The team try to adjust it with no success. They decide to turn the table around so the dodgy join in the cloth is not so noticeable. Chairs are carried on and aligned neatly around the table.
Robbie the Stage Manager announces that the house is now open. From the Props team's point of view, everything is perfect and they're looking forward to an easy evening. To anyone chancing past, it might look like the crew are enjoying a sociable time around their table but like any skill which appears effortless, this is only achieved through hours of preparation: careful planning during technical rehearsals and meticulous maintenance during a production's run. However, there is an element of excitement because there's always the threat that something might go wrong during the show...
Alison, the Deputy Stage Manager, calls for the 'Part One beginners'. This is the cue for Darren to fill up a sundae glass with ice-cream from the Props freezer. It has to be real ice-cream because the young actor playing Mamillius has to eat it! Which can't be too much of a hardship for a ten year old boy. Darren waits in the MSD for Kelly Hunter who plays Mamillius's mother, Hermione.
Actors in costume arrive from their dressing rooms, take one of Steve's glasses of Ribena from the table and push through the doors to the wings. Two actors pick up long candle-lighters from the table and instinctively check they're working. They stroll on stage to light the candles.
Kelly glides in, dressed in her character Hermione's long gown over a pregnancy suit. She and Darren greet each other and silently walk the route they've made every time this show goes on, around the back of the stalls. Darren hands over the glass and spoon, and a glass of Ribena, and wishes Kelly a good evening. On his way back to the MSD, he checks his printed list for his next cue.