Hello everyone! I’m writing this from my dressing room at Portland Stage Company. It’s my very first tech rehearsal as an Equity Actor, and honestly, it’s not that different than other tech rehearsals I’ve done before. It’s incredibly slow moving, a lot of stopping and starting, and it’s the time when everything should and does go wrong. But that’s ok, because now’s the time to fix it! For those less savvy with theatre lingo, a tech rehearsal is where all the lights, sound, furniture, props, and costumes get sorted out. Every cue that happens, every scene change, every transition of any kind gets ironed out in tech rehearsal. We have two days of tech, Friday and Saturday, and each is a twelve-hour day, from noon to midnight. Actually, it’s called a ten-out-of-twelve, because we get a two-hour break in the middle (from 5-7) for dinner.
While these are two very long days, they’re mitigated by the fact that we have an awesome crew (most of whom are interns), headed by our ultra-great Stage Manager Shane. We also have a BOSS design team (sound, lights, set, costume, props), and of course the cast is always a joy to work with. While there is a large amount of waiting around while the design elements are hammered out, it does give one time to converse, sometimes about rather significant things: I had a conversation about the struggles Garrett (the deaf actor playing “Billy”) has during tech, because it’s often so dark on stage (as they work out the lighting issues) that it’s hard for him to see his interpreter. I had a conversation about the difficulties and benefits of being an actor in New York; I’ve gained some great advice from Elizabeth, who plays my mom in the show, about how to navigate such scary waters as being a starving artist in an expensive city. And I’ve had time to bond with my stage-siblings, finding the brotherly/sisterly love.
It’s actually insane to think that this show opens in less than a week. We have tomorrow as our first dress rehearsal (even though we’ve been in costume all through tech, we haven’t actually RUN the show in costume), then we have Monday off, then Tuesday is our first preview! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all preview days, which means that they are still dress rehearsals, but they are at the same time our shows will be, and we will have a paying audience seeing us run the show (so we sort of treat them as performances). Things are still liable to change during this part of the process, and we have rehearsals from 12-5 each of those days, then a performance at 7:30.
So we are very much still in the rehearsal stage, but we can feel the clock ticking down until opening night. There’s a new energy now that we’ve moved into the theatre (as opposed to the rehearsal room we were in during the first two weeks of rehearsal); suddenly the play feels that much more real. Working on the set makes me feel like I’m in this family’s kitchen, and working with the props makes the acting that much more authentic. This show is really starting to come together, and I’m excited to see the progress in the coming week!