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January 3, 2011

Twas the Night Before Tech

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:16 pm

Today is my day off. We just had a day off two days ago, which is a strange, but very enjoyable phenomenon that comes about every year as a result of our attempts to wrestle ourselves back onto the traditional Monday day off, after two weeks of taking holidays off (Christmas and New Year’s Day). So to get us back on track, we end up with two days off close together, but in different calendar weeks.

Yesterday was a very long but very productive day on stage, in what in Guthrie parlance is termed the “first onstage rehearsal,” although in our case we were miraculously given the stage on Thursday and had it for our last three rehearsals. But since Sunday was our “first onstage” we introduced the new element of our deck crew, Craig and Natasha, which sort of creates a bridge between rehearsal and tech. We even tried out our fly cues (on this show we will use the house curtain, when a venue has one, at the top and end of the show). I love fly cues, so I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of sometimes having them. I’d never seen the house curtain at the McGuire Proscenium. Can you guess what color it is?
A funny story about this photo. I googled “McGuire Proscenium” and picked the first picture I saw that got the point across. Then I saw that it linked to Flickr, and I thought, “I probably took this picture, or Nick!” Well it’s Nick’s. So this image is copyright of Nick Tochelli, who always was better than me at getting venue photos.

Anyway, on the day off I finally managed to go on the grocery run, since it’s the first one we’ve had in weeks that wasn’t dangerously close to or overlapping with rehearsal time. Then I went downtown to Target to buy some needed supplies. Then I watched several episodes of West Wing while gaming and doing laundry, before deciding it was time to get down to business and work on my script.

It was 8:50 and I was marveling at how cool it was that it was still a reasonable hour, and suddenly a little voice wondered what I have to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is TECH. Yes, TECH. When I decide to go to bed and the alarm clock goes off, it will be THE FIRST DAY OF TECH. In an instant I was completely terrified, and immediately relieved and excited. Tech really isn’t a scary thing. It’s a necessary and final step to being ready to perform the show, and it’s when I actually get to start doing the part of my job that’s fun. Scheduling costume fittings is terrifying. Tech is fun, even if it’s not going particularly well. When tech goes badly enough to cost money, that’s the only time it stops being fun, and I have almost never had that problem.

So my project for the night is to take our lighting designer’s script and transfer his tentative cues into my calling script, and then pencil in the ones I think I’ll have from other departments (sound and those two fly cues, basically). This will be the fifth show Michael and I have teched together in three years, so it’s no problem to flip through his book and jot down the cues. There are no cue numbers, but it helps me to have a guide to what’s coming up, and to start to see his thought process of where he wants cues and what they’re doing. When we actually tech the scenes I’ll get the numbers, and in many cases a lot of the cues that have been marked may not end up existing.

I haven’t actually done anything with my calling script since printing it, so it’s exciting to see it coming to life, even if it’s the faintest outline. At this point it’s just the rehearsal script with a 3.5″ right margin and the font reduced from 12 point to 10. When we finish tech the cues will be typed in, in the style of the Romeo and Juliet script you can see here. I’ll post it when it’s done, if for no other reason than because I intend it to be awesome and resplendent with decoration that will beat my “swan = crow” graphic in the R&J script.