Putting it All Together

On Tuesday, we’ll formally begin the part of the process called Tech. Basically this is the time when all the technical elements of the show get layered in. So, while we’ve been rehearsing for four weeks, the folks who will be operating the lights and sound and helping us with costume changes and setting our props and conducting all of that by calling the cues will get about four days. This, as you may imagine, can seem pretty daunting. Tech is usually also the first time we get to work with our costumes, and some of the final props, as well as the set, which has until now been taped out on the floor. Tech is adding all of the things that we couldn’t do without physically being in the theater.

But, for whatever reason (I’m going with the absolute epic scope of the show — though it may be something quite different), today we added some layers while still in the rehearsal space. So we all got to work with almost full costume, and let me tell you, we look pretty awesome. We also got to hear a lot of the sound that designer extraordinaire Josh Schmidt has put together for us, and let me tell you, it is also extremely cool. We spent the earlier part of today setting the battle to sound, and it is absolutely thrilling. There is a part of the battle that I always make sure to watch that still gives me chills every time I watch it, and now that there’s sound under it, it is that much cooler.

(I’ve worked on one other show with Josh before, and it was the same set-up. He’s got a little table set up next to Stage Management with his Mac Powerbook, a mini keyboard, a pair of speakers, an external hard drive, and all manner of cables. He mixes the sound on the computer live while we’re doing our thing. The spontaneity achieved by this method of working is unbelievably exciting.)

Anyway, what’s nice about all this is it gives us a chance to layer in these elements at a relatively easy pace. In the traditional setting, where we don’t get our clothes till one or two days from our final rehearsal, there is a lot of information to be learned in a short amount of time: how long it takes to change from one costume into another, how it feels to walk around in this silhouette, what it’s like to fight in a kilt. And with sound, working out how to finesse entrances and exits and sync the fight choreography can take up a lot of time. Plus there are all sorts of little details that need working out, and you just don’t know until you get there.*

So we ran tonight with some of these elements added, and it really gave us a nice little bump. The show still needs tightening, and there’re scenes that need work, and we still haven’t seen any sets or lights, but for the most part, there is some serious bad-assery on display, and really, what more can you ask for?



*Inside joke alert (ask after you’ve seen the show): Like what temperature the water should be.


2 Responses to “Putting it All Together”

  1. April 14, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Hi Matt and others! This blog is a most insightful way to grasp what goes into preparing for a show, and underscores the benefit of thinking reflectively about our art (I will mention that to my theatre students, who grouse about journaling).

    I so enjoyed a glimpse into rehearsal yesternight, and I’m glad I only saw the pre-intermission portion of the show, so I have some surprises to look forward to. What I like about the Bard’s history plays is they really delve into the psychology of relationships as a motivating factor for actions. This play is something of an “action soap opera,” where divergent storylines race toward one another to the epic conflict. I could feel that mounting pace in just the first half of the show, so I can’t wait to see how that builds further.

    I could definitely perceive that energy of excitement present as the actors began to adjust to these new technical elements. The staging configuration (stadium/transverse) that you’ve referred to in an earlier entry indeed makes for a dynamic and truly intimate actor/audience experience. On that note, I can’t wait for my high school students to understand firsthand that asterisked detail you alluded to above (this was a “wet tech,” I observed, right?) [a bad pun for an inside joke].

    As I look down the tunnel of the forthcoming two weeks before I open my own show at school, I am reminded of what we have ahead of us! It’s both daunting and exciting. The last two weeks of rehearsal and preparation really begin to pay off as a show comes together as your last few entries have highlighted so well.

    And Macs (and the potential for what you can do tech-wise) is not to be understated. “Bad-assery” indeed.

    Break a leg!

  2. April 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    we are really looking forward to seeing the show (darnit, we have to wait until may 17!). do you keep working on scenes, choreography, etc., after opening?

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