Lifting Up The Curtain: Christ It's Busy
So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about First You’re Born.
How’s it going, I feel you all (all six of you) screaming into your computer monitors?
Well, pretty good, actually. We enter the process known as Tech Week this weekend, which is when you get into the theater itself, and try to get the timing and look and feel of all the lighting and sound cues (and props and set pieces) exactly right. It’s a long, tedious process, but at the same time, I actually kind of find it fun. Tech week is one of the few times where my instant-gratification receptors get any kind of satisfaction. Theater is a process, and sometimes it’s difficult to know whether what you did is right or wrong, or if the show is going to be any good. With Tech Week, it’s pretty clear whether or not a light cue works. Very rarely do you find yourself going “um. Yeah. Well, we’re going to have to sleep on that and come up with something smart on Thursday” or whatever, which is a common occurrence in rehearsal.
And rehearsal is what we’re smack dab it the middle of. Half the cast is sick. Everyone’s running out of money. The set is forty eight hours behind schedule in terms of building. We just hired the costume designer like ten days ago. Everyone’s exhausted. I won’t see my partner today until midnight at the earliest. I don’t understand it, but for some reason this has had little effect on rehearsals lately. Sure, everyone’s a little tired, and I have to keep the energy in the room up, but people understand that hard work is what the play requires.
Before a play goes into Tech, it really turns into fine-toothed-comb time. What are the moments in the play that we’ve neglected? What do the actors still have questions about? What parts of the play work fine, are going well, but feel stale and over rehearsed? What staging that I’ve done looks god-awful and forced? When do people not know what they’re doing? Is the combat safe? (there’s one scene of pretty extensive combat that includes chasing someone with an over-sized kitchen knife). Basically it’s a lot of nitty-gritty and getting in there and getting as specific as possible.
In light of this, we are slowly making our way through the play from start to finish, to get as clear a sense of the arc as possible. Each scene can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to get through (the scenes themselves are three to six pages long and in a big font, the play is an hour and fifteen minutes). This kind of work feels tedious, and isn’t particularly invigorating, but is what the play needs right now. The play needs some attention to detail and some new shit thrown into the mix so that we can be as prepared as possible in time for tech.
I know I haven’t been writing on Parabasis much lately, and, actually, that’s been kind of sad. I’m going to try to keep it to a post a day, except for this weekend, when I will be ensconced at Playwright’s Horizons from 10AM-10PM on Saturday and from 12PM-12AM on Sunday. But I’ll write about tech week on Monday!