Director’s Blog: “Pressurizing a Production”

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By Liam Castellan 

It’s been a very long week.  I’m not sure I have the mental energy to write something coherent.  (Only one way to find out, I suppose…)

We added the rest of the “stage magic” in the past few days.  This is known as “Tech Week”, because we take the actor’s efforts and add lighting, sound, costumes, and all the other technical elements.  The hours get longer for cast and crew alike.

During the day on Friday, I sat in the theatre with Jared (as Lighting Designer as well as Artistic Director) and Sound Designer John Tiedeck as we worked on cues without the actors.  This is called “Dry Tech”, because it’s most efficient to do all the work you can on lights and sound before you add them to an acting rehearsal.

Tech rehearsals often involve a certain amount of multitasking, as we try to get the most out of the remaining time we have.  Stage management might be reviewing cues, I might be onstage working a scene with some actors, and the rest of the cast might be running lines, talking over things with designers, etc.  Outside of rehearsal, we’re putting finishing touches on scenery, costumes, and props. 

This week also involved a big transition backstage: Joanna Volpe got a job offer that she couldn’t refuse, so she was only able to be the stage manager for rehearsals, and left Hedgerow on Friday.  We all wish her well, and look forward to seeing her in the audience on Opening Night!  Rosy Amaya has run a few rehearsals already, and took over running lights and sound this weekend.  She’s co-managing the run of the show with Joel and the Hedgerow Fellows.  It’s more common for one stage manager to be in charge all the way through, but this situation isn’t unheard of in a company as busy as Hedgerow.

The actors’ primary concern this week is all the new information: how a costume unexpectedly affects how the character moves,timing entrances with lights and sound, whether their makeup reads right in the light, making sure their props are preset on the correct wing of the stage, et cetera.  Beyond that, most of our work has been on pressurizing the whole production.  Just as your bike or your office chair functions best when all the loose bolts are tightened, so too a comedy thriller benefits from its dialogue staying taut and urgent. 

Two dress rehearsals next week, and we’ll be ready for you!

…But are you ready for us?