BWW Blog: The Madness That Is Tech Week
Imagine it, you are sitting in the booth whispering "Go" while simultaneously hitting spacebar in QLab so that a recorded line echoes through the small theatre. An hour long show that you are now almost halfway through, but are still only on sound cue 55 of 101.5 total sound and projection cues lined up. There is an itching in your brain, telling you to hit the spacebar, even when it isn't time, because you are terrified that you are going to miss something. Feeling immense panic when time is running out in the transition and the actor still hasn't made it onstage after a 20 second, total costume, quick change. Now imagine doing that for 9 days straight.
Tech week is called "hell" week, for good reason. All of a sudden, actors are thrown on stage with costumes, lights, sound, and other fun technical elements and are told to act out an entire show. The stage management team is learning the in's and outs of the production, from what cues are in the wrong places, to areas of concern that will need to be addressed in the rehearsal report. While also doing line notes for the whole show. How could one possibly find this fun?
Surprisingly, tech week has become one of my favorite moments in the production process. The picture that has slowly been developing for weeks is suddenly there, in front of me, and I know that I did something to make it happen. After long hours and a lot of bonding, the cast and crew have become a family with inside jokes, support for each other, and a sense of pride in the work being put onstage. I am thrilled every time a rehearsal ends and a new element has clicked into place, I can practically hear the audience's reaction to a funny joke or a quirky costume that I stopped noticing after so many run throughs. You will never be closer to anything or anyone else than what you experience during tech week, it is so unique and each show has a completely different run.
I am getting ready to close out a one-act that is a complete 180 from the show I did barely a month back and I'm already feeling the nostalgia. Since theatre is performed live, it creates this energy, this shared experience that you can only be a part of once. No two shows are the same, believe me, so enjoy the entire process. It'll be gone before you know it. There will always be the inside jokes, but there will no longer be the mutual panic when projections have screwed themselves up, or when no one can find that one prop that is crucial for a scene. The adrenaline rush is so unlike anything else, as it is paired with the thrill/fear that comes with doing something that has to be done right, or the show goes on anyway. So the next time tech week comes around and the grumbles of disdain start, try to remember that there is joy in putting art out there, the pain is only temporary and you most likely won't remember it.