For the past two weeks, I feel as if I have done nothing but live, eat, and breath Candide. It truly is one of the most grueling productions I have worked on. Terry Nolen, the Artistic Director of the Arden and the director of the production has said that this is the hardest of all possible musicals. And on top of it, we're doing it in the round and with chalk.
Yes, chalk...the actors write all over the set with chalk which means cleaning up the chalk. So the actors also mop up the stage. Much of tech week was spent working out what type of mops we should use and how damp the mops should be. I now know more about mops than I ever thought I wanted to.
But tech week wasn't just about mops, we also had to add in the fly cues, the sound cues, the costumes, the props and the light cues--all 400 of of them. It was a slow and tedious process but it had to be that way to ensure not only artistry but safety as well.
During the week of tech, actors are allowed to rehearse for 10 hours out of 12 on three consecutive days. This is in accordance with Actor's Equity Association (the union for stage actors and stage managers). Those three days spent in the darkened room of the theater can make one a bit loopy. I forgot what day it was and couldn't remember if I lived at the Arden and visited my home or if I was visiting the Arden.
The hours spent paid off though and the production is amazing. The team of designers, directors, orchestra members, cast and crew deserve a standing ovation for the feat they have pulled off while keeping their tempers under control. I don't even have any stories about people losing it and screaming.
At the opening last night, we said good-bye to many of the designers and directors who are off to other projects. We've left them at this station but the rest of us, the cast, orchestra, crew and I are going to chug on toward closing.