Even though In the Heights is a big production, and the show must go on, and all that, sometimes you’ve just got to make time in the middle of the day to go outside and look (not directly, of course – safety first!) at a solar eclipse.

group viewing

Some Geva staff members were prepared for the occasion – the above photo features a couple pairs of official eclipse glasses and at least one welder’s mask. Others had to improvise with what we could find around our workspaces (lucky for us, producing live theatre requires a wide range of materials and equipment, so there was lots to work with)!

A few people came outside with cardstock or file folders with holes poked in them to make pinhole cameras. Props Artisan Butch Kane took this idea one step further, using a peg board to project a grid of tiny eclipses onto the sidewalk:

pegboard eclipses

But probably the most notable improvised eclipse viewer was the one assembled by the electrics department:


ladder rig

On top of that ladder is a piece of cardboard with a hole in it. But the hole is adjustable thanks to an iris – a device intended to be inserted into theatrical lighting instruments to change the width of the beam, which worked great for focusing the projected image of the eclipse. Here’s a close-up of the hardware:

iris rig

Electrician Matt Reese even managed to climb the ladder toward the sun without looking at it to focus the iris for us:

rig focus

In the moments when the clouds temporarily cleared, staff members gathered around to photograph the image of the eclipse on a whiteboard under the ladder:

pinhole photos

Eventually, the clouds took over and we all headed back inside. Now we’ve got some time to perfect our viewing equipment before April 8, 2024 – when Rochester will be in the path of totality! Until then, just remember – don’t buy any plants today.


Audrey 2, discovered during a solar eclipse in Little Shop of Horrors



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