Bon Iver Cercle, 2016 (or ‘Yarnageddon’, as it’s known by the production team)
Andrew Mackonis, Production Manager:
To this day those of us who were there still refer to ‘Yarnageddon’ with a wry smile.
Bon Iver and his production team had the idea of hanging a yarn sculpture in the venue as a surface for lighting and projection. It would be the focal point for the performance, taking advantage of the height of the room in a way that no one had really done before. The entire installation was put together in the United States and shipped over for the shows. It was going to be spectacular.
Everything started out fine, but about half way through the four hour set up it became obvious that things weren’t going to plan. The fire retardant the yarn had been treated with had caused it to clump together while in transit. The yarn had turned it into something akin to dreadlocks rather than individual strands.
At that point we had a contingency meeting about how best to proceed; it was the main design element of the show so cutting it wasn't ideal.
The decision was made to press on and a call was sent out for help across the House. Before you knew it we had about 24 staff on stage. We had staff turn up to help from the production services team, as well as staff from just about every other department at the House. Lunch and dinner was delivered to us on the stage so we could keep working. We finished up at two the next morning.
It took us 18 hours to finish as we hung, combed, untangled and trimmed about 33 kilometres of yarn.
Many hands made this possible, and it was spectacular. To this day it’s my proudest moment during my time at the Opera House.