By Karen | May 14, 2012
Off the Lake performed its opening of The Mystery of Edwin Drood this weekend to two great audiences. The weekend was fantastic, but before it could happen we went through what is known by theatre folk as “hell week.”
This is our colloquial term for what is theoretically called “tech week.” The terms are interchangeable, but by the end of said week, most actors, crew members, and orchestra members are found using the first.
Tech week means running the entire show with costumes, makeup, lights, sounds, props, and often food every single day. For OTL, a group without a permanent home, this also means moving, assembling, disassembling, and storing our set across campus every single night.
After getting through this experience, I feel like a weathered veteran and would like to offer my top ten list of ways to get through tech week.
TOP TEN THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE TECH:
1.Surrender all hopes of getting home any time before 2 am. If you get home at 1, it will feel awesome; if you get home by 3 you won’t be too disappointed
2.So call is at 5:30? What, that’s so early, right? Be ready to bring food along with you and to eat quickly backstage. If you don’t come prepared you might go a day without dinner.
3.Accept the fact that that paper you write this week might not earn top marks, and there’s a very high chance that you are going to sleep through at least one morning class. It’s only for one week, and we all make mistakes. Do your best, but realize you aren’t Superman.
4.Wear comfortable shoes. I suppose this one is mostly for the crew. Cast, you don’t really have a choice about what you wear. But for crew an entire week on your feet can get really painful before you notice. When you sit down your feet will be throbbing. Treat yourself well and wear a quality pair of tennis shoes backstage.
5.Another hint for the crew: if you have any free time during the week, do a load of black laundry. Soon the end of tech will loom near and you will need to blend in backstage. Be prepared.
6.Remember that there are people out there who care about you who aren’t part of your show. If you want them to come see you perform, don’t forget that they exist. Take time to grab lunch with a roommate or send a quick text to Mom when you have a second backstage.
7.Speaking of texting backstage, make sure your phone is on silent or off. Try not to carry it on stage.
8.Accept whatever the directors, stage manager, or any other leader tells you to do. Don’t question their orders. Things will run much more smoothly if everyone works as a team. Don’t complain or try to defend yourself during notes when the show is over for the night, it eats up everyone’s time.
9.Don’t take tech too seriously. Take time to enjoy the company of the people you are struggling with all week. Dance backstage during your favorite musical number. If an actor drops a line, laugh it off. Some of the best inside jokes and theatre memories are formed during tech week. Don’t forget that.
10.Remind yourself that you love this. My first tech week, one of my friends described hell week as being analogous to Christmas. Ever since, I actually get excited for the stress, pain, and incredible wonders of hours upon hours with the people I love the most. In the end this is really, incredibly, fantastically fun. You love these people. You love this show. And so will the audience. Soon it will all be over and you will have that terrible post show depression. So enjoy this while you can. It will all be worth it.
Topics: Author | Comments Off
Comments are closed.