Today was the first day of tech. We started out with a bit of bad news. We had to let one of actors go. C is a terrific actor, but he was having a hard time working as part of an ensemble. After trying to get him to be a team player for a few days, Eli finally had enough, and he removed C from the show. The rest of the cast was pretty stunned; I gather that no actor had ever been removed from a show before. I was sorry to see him go, but it was the right decision.
Losing C meant that our morning schedule was a bit screwed up. Eli met with the cast to explain the situation (there were some tears), and then we had to reshoot the poster. While that was happening, I was working with Soby the house sound guy to set up the computer to play back sound.
Then we tech!
Not everything was ready for tech today: we had no video, and we were missing some key visual elements of the scenery. Plus, there was the expected amount of cultural differences regarding how tech rehearsals run. Eli and I expect a certain sequence of events, but things are, of course, different in Romania. Here are some observations from our first day of tech:
- The stage manager here is in charge of the technical operation of the deck. Not wrangling actors, and not calling a lot of cues. Most of the cues are taken by the operators themselves. I spent today standing next to Soby, telling him where each cue goes. He took good notes and we used a translator for much of the day, but I’m a little bit nervous about what happens after a two month break between shows or a change in operators.
- Nothing looks as beautiful as a high-powered fresnel an a low setting. It’s so warm – like hugging a candle. But with less fire.
- I spent the entire first half of the day scribbling notes on paper. I hadn’t written that many notes by hand in tech in ten years!
- For all of the weird lack of punctuality regarding rehearsals and breaks, we started back with tech rehearsal at 5.05pm after a 5pm call. Guess that’s what happens when you don’t have to wait for half hour. Also, when we took a 10 at 8pm, the actors were back onstage at 8.10. They’ve NEVER been that punctual. I don’t know if their motivation was wanting to finish for the night or a little fear over the loss of C.
- We’re cutting cues left and right. Well, not cutting, but consolidating. It makes me a little nervous, as the consolidation means that we’re making sonic events a particular length of time, which means that the actors can’t ever deviate. We started the day with about 60 cues in this 75 minute show. Now we’re at 48.
- I would kill for a bilingual & bicultural stage manager.
- The difference between audio connectors that look ALMOST similar but are quite different was never more apparent than this week.
Dinner break was pizza at a bar with some of the cast and crew. We told many inappropriate jokes. I learned a new one about camels.
For all of my fears about our collective lack of preparation, we made great time! At 8pm tonight, with two hours left in our day, we finished teching through the show. Eli and I were astounded. We never expected to finish in one day, and here we were with time to spare. We went back to do a little review work and broke for the day at 8.30pm. There’s still plenty to do, but at least we got through this beast.
Onward and upwards!