If you are in the theater, you know what a “10 of 12” is. For those who are fans of theater, but not practitioners, it is one very long day allowed by Actors Equity and the other trades, when all the designers, cast, crew, and director try to work through adding the technical aspects of the show. We work ten hours of a twelve hour span.
This Sunday we started at 10 am with a ‘paper tech’, where the stage manager (Julie Pare), lighting designer (Eric Marsh), sound designer (Yezzmine Zepeda) and sometimes the set designer (Dylan Marks) collaborate on the cues for light, sound, and special effects. Both designers had previously built their individual plots in their respective computers, so it was a melding of the two into the stage manager’s call sheet. The company manager, tech director, and senior tech joined us. I always choose to be there, but the director is really extraneous at this point if communication has been good throughout the process. Because Private Lives is not a particularly tech heavy show, (aside from props) we were able to finish in a little over an hour.
Actors arrived at 11:00 am for what should have been a costume dress parade, where I get to see the costumes under light and work with the costumer to make notes on what needs to be adjusted, completed, or added. Our costumer was not quite ready and begged an extension, so I spent an hour giving actor notes from the last two rehearsals. Crew members and interns were also called for 11, and the stage manager worked with our newly assembled stage crew to walk through the major set turnover between Acts I and II and the prop changes between Acts II and III.
I assigned my iPad to my directing intern Isabelle Rogers, who played photographer during the whole long day.
By 12 noon, we were able to take a quick break and begin tech rehearsal. Often this is when we use the actors as props and just move from cue to cue rather than actually playing the whole scene. It’s beneficial to the technical staff but doesn’t help the actors very much. But because the lighting cues are generally long and slow progressions of light and the sound cues are very specific in timing, we were able to work through a run of the entire play, including set turnovers by 4:00 pm, when our dinner break was scheduled.
Some of the crew chose to have a pot luck/take out picnic in the green room. A number of us walked over to a little French crepe restaurant in the Village and spent our break together, then wandered back to the theater at our leisure. At 6:00 pm, we started all over again from the top of the show. During the second run, we stopped only occasionally to work out a rigging problem that we had discussed, to work business with a break-away prop, or to adjust the actors positions to be better lit, etc. During the act breaks I consulted with the prop master about a punch list of final props that are still outstanding and fabrics for reupholstering the furniture.
We finished a little after 9 pm. Light and sound designers were able to leave, knowing my technical notes would come to them from my stage manager. The set designer and shop crew worked to resolve a few issues and the running crew began to organize the back stage storage of furniture and props while I gave actor notes. When I finished shortly after 10 pm, we had almost an hour in our scheduled 10 of 12 rehearsal to work or rework some scenes, but I chose to let everyone go home a little early, knowing the set designer was waiting to continue painting the floor and we would be sharper and more creative in our solutions after some rest.
All in all it was a very successful tech. But it does bring home how close we are to opening the show. Our first preview audience will join in the fun next Sunday, July 14 at 3:00. Hope you will consider joining us.
For more information and to buy tickets call 713-524-6706 or go online to www.mainstreettheater.com