Over the weekend, we had our ’10 of 12′ rehearsal. It was exhausting, but productive, and we survived it–as we always do.
Actor’s Equity union rules allow us to have one rehearsal during Tech Week, where we work actors and crew ten out of twelve consecutive hours. This is usually done in two five-hour work sessions with a two-hour dinner break. Ours fell on Sunday.
Tech rehearsals are a long and tedious, but necessary process where the director, stage manager and designers try to work together to pull a show out of the proverbial hat. We ask the actors to move through the show from one cue line to another, stopping to build a sequence of light and music transitions. We track the props through their appearances on stage and off. We make critical decisions on costume pieces and quick changes. The actual furniture is added to the set, final details are completed or painted on the set, and adjustments are made in blocking to accommodate all these elements.
I take second chair to my fabulous stage manager, Lauren Evans. The actors are temporarily relegated to animated mannequins that must walk the same pattern and say the same phrase over and over until all the computerized elements are in sync and as they need to be for the final product. There is a lot of sitting or standing around, while being completely upstaged by the technical elements. It can be very boring and certainly taxing to patience and good humor. The cast and crew of Miss Bennet managed to weather the process with minimal storms and tempests, in good part thanks to Lauren. The product is starting to become visible.
Sunday we made it through Act 1 and part of Act 2. Monday, we finished teching the show and were able to actually rehearse some scenes with full technical support. This week, we add the costumes and put all the elements together with the wonderful characterizations that the cast has been developing. The final push will be to meld all these moving parts and impose a story arc that brings the audience into the world and on the adventure.
The audience is, of course, the final element; the ‘chemical’ reaction that adds the magic, which turns a play into a piece of theatre–and hopefully a work of art.
Check out the Houston Press interview with me about Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, at –