Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Theater Hangover

"Between the late nights and the pollen, I feel like I have a hangover," So said the Master Electrician this past weekend during one of our long days of tech for The Seafarer.

And I realized that that is how I felt as well.

Teching a show means adding lights, costumes, the set, real props, sound and everything else to the performances of the actors. It can be a slow, painstaking process as we set levels for sound or adjust lights so they are just right. Sometimes, tech can go quickly; the actors rehearse the show and the lighting designer might change lights around them. We work long days, however. Actors' Equity allows a theater to call actors for 10 hours out of 12 on two days preceeding the opening of a show. While these 10 out of 12s seem long to the actors, the rest of us are there much longer prepping the stage, lights, props, etc.

It can make a person go a bit batty as well. Spend hours in a dark room and then step outside into the blinding sunlight of spring. You forget that there is an entire world that exists outside of the play.

Of course spring means pollen which only adds to our woes as allergies are triggered. Late nights, dark rooms, pollen (and dust from the theater itself) and you can see why we sometimes feel hungover.

The upside though is that this play is going very well. We've been able to run the show quite a bit during tech. The director has moved on from tweaking lights to tweaking performances. Because things have run so smoothly, he is able to take apart certain scenes that have not worked well to find the truth in them. Perhaps it is a blocking thing: would that character move on that line? Perhaps it's an intention: when Richard asks that question, is he provoking Sharky? It's fascinating to watch as each moment is broken apart to find the honesty in it.

So hangover be damned! We have a show to put on. Although, I do wish that if I have to feel hungover, I at least had a couple of beers the night before.

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