Tech week: drama lingo for the final week before a show that all cast members dread and relish at the same time.
You just can’t beat the hysterical laughter caused by lack of sleep or the constant humming from cast members who can’t get the songs of the show out of their heads. It all begins with a Sunday night rehearsal: the rush of the first time the sound cues come in at just the right moment, the set changes pulled off without a hitch, the props you have been pretending to hold finally appearing in your hands.
Monday night brings mics and lights, two of the greatest hurdles we face in the theater department. The loud, vibrating hum of the microphones makes the whole cast shudder and falter on their lines. The bright spotlights make it impossible to see anyone else on stage.
By Tuesday, the exhaustion sets in. Eyes droop throughout the day. Teachers notice you are not quite with them in class. Full hair and makeup are required for this day’s run-through. A few mad scrambles and heart attacks later, you might just find your way to the theater in a timely fashion. When it’s finally time to start rehearsal, the character shoes are pinching a little too tightly, your earpiece starts to give you a headache, and your costumes have begun to lose their initial appeal. Each rehearsal feels a little less comfortable than it did a few nights before. Your timing is off on most of your lines, and your microphone never seems to be working when you need it to be.
Wednesday we take a much-needed break from the chaos of the rehearsal pace. Time to finish all of the homework for the entire week in one night and hope that it all works out. Move on from the fact that, even though you have told them a million times that it is tech week, the teachers still chose to give you a mound of homework. Try to get to bed before midnight and maybe, just maybe, you will be able to make it to Friday.
Thursday. Well, Thursday is make or break. This is it. Welcome to dress rehearsal. Get there early and be ready for pictures. Center yourself before the run-through and take a few deep breaths. When you walk on stage, make it count. This is your last time to drop a line, forget an entrance, break into an unplanned giggle, or miss a quick change. Get it all out. This is the last time you can do these scenes before people are standing in front of you. Then, before you know it, it’s over. Just like that.
This year I have had the privilege of playing the part of one of my favorite characters in musical theater, Maria in The Sound of Music. This part has challenged me, excited me, and scared the ever-living daylights out of me. Every time I open my mouth to sing those first notes of “The Sound of Music,” I get a little light headed. My head spins, and then all of a sudden it stops. I see the spotlight and hear the music and before I know it, I’m singing.
I wanted to explain tech week so everyone will realize what Mrs. Eubanks, Hannah Jane, the tech crew, stage hands, and cast of a Westminster show actually go through. The headaches, the joys, the laughs, the sobs–I wouldn’t trade it for the world.