Hi, and before I start I must apologise. Ive neglected you, im sorry!
As I hope you will learn over these forthcoming words, last week was one hell of a week! It was Tech week!
Im sure many of you fantastically informed fans will know what teching is, but for those not so in the know,here goes…
Technical Rehearsal, or Tech is the process during which each and every department must come together and find a way to merge in perfect harmony to deliver the final show you will see on stage.
We have Sound, Lighting, Set, Props, Cameras, Performers Cues, Entrances/Exits, Spacing, Choreography and Costume. Each and every one must be coordinated, directed, manipulated and shoehorned into the perfect balance to create the exact scene, images, atmosphere and feeling needed to tell our fantastic tale. And its a long and tedious process!
Our current rehearsal schedule will be between 8 and 12 hours a day. Most of this time can be spent in an enormous studio in which our phenomenal set is built. The studio is often dark, lit only by our stage lighting, but everywhere is a hive of activity. People chattering over coms and mics while the director liases between the many departments and the stage managers try oversee the chaos and the thankless task of keeping a mass of fidgeting, hyperactive performers in place and in check.
There are also assistant directors and choreographers running on and off stage adding the finishing touches to the scene with every department jostling for their required time to adjust and perfect cues. Somewhere in the middle of this up to 50 performers will be on and off the stage. Bouncing between a stop, go, wait, go again, wait, go back to the beginning and start again regime.
We go from long waits while lights are angled and technical staging is set. Then we are suddenly go, running the number with performance lighting and a band playing ear splittingly loud all around me. My muscles ache from the rapid change of pace as I dance, jump and tumble full out whilst making sure my pathways are clear, that I am not being blinded by the lights while I am upside down and that my costume doesn’t get in the way. Most importantly, is the awareness that I have to do this in front of 20,000 people in a weeks time!
Every time we run a number now I look out from our set and I see in my mind the thousands of faces who will watch us over the coming months.
This stage of the process brings the cast even closer together and secures the company into the tight group it is. The gruellingly hard work during the week of tech pulls us together as we carry each other through it. It’s the final preparation for the pressures of being on stage, of touring together, being around each other almost 24/7. Through city after city, coach trips, tiredness, highs and lows. I think in many ways its as necessary to experience this experience as it is to complete the technical building of the show.
So I hope this has given you a little insight into what life’s like just now. When you watch our show give a thought to the huge amount of people that have contributed to it and the sheer volume of thought, organisation, logistics and repetition its taken for it to unfold in front of you.
This last week before we open will be the hardest yet, but then comes the joy of taking this show out to an audience. I’m so excited!
I look forward to sharing it with you.