Yes Officer

At the opening of “Out of Sterno” BAT had a searchlight. It was . . . well . . . bright.

searchlight beams shine in the night sky. Sept. 26, 2014

On the opening night of the BAT production of “Out Of Sterno”, the searchlight beams shine in the night sky. Sept. 26, 2014. Photo by Craig Orsinger for Burien Actors Theatre.

Before opening night, BAT called the Port to make sure there would be no problem with using the light to announce the opening of BAT’s 35th season. The airport is just about 4 miles away.  BAT was thinking of using a searchlight at every opening this season.

Last season at “Noises Off,” which BAT presented at the old Staples storefront just two blocks south, BAT had a searchlight. No problem.

This time, back home, about two hours into the searchlight doing its best to invite people to the opening of a very funny fable of our time, four police cars show up. (It must have been a slow night in Burien.) Officer Friendly comes into BAT’s office and tells me pilots are complaining about BAT’s searchlight. He politely, in that way police officers do, asked me to turn off the searchlight, which I did.

A little while later the Captain shows up (more proof it was a slow night in Burien) and gives me a name of the supervisor of air traffic control, and asks me to call him.

Burien Actors Theatre hired a searchlight to announce the start of "Out Of Sterno". Sept. 26, 2014

On the opening night of “Out Of Sterno”, Burien Actors Theatre hired a searchlight to announce the start of the production. Sept. 26, 2014. Photo by Craig Orsinger for BAT

Of course, the phone number was not correct. A few web searches and phone calls later I get to talk to Mr. Vale.

It turns out that at this time the planes are landing from another direction. Hence, the call to the police. It looks like things are well on there way to being worked out, and BAT should have searchlights for the each opening night this season. But for a while there, things looked dark.

Everyone throughout this process was very nice and although apparently causing a small problem, we all agree that searchlights at opening are cool.

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