Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tech Week, Night 1

Last night began tech week. Or hell week, and I think perhaps in some ways the latter term was more suitable.

Some of the reasons could not be avoided. The actress that plays opposite me in most of my scenes had problems with her out of state flight, and hence was unable to make it to the rehearsal. So I had to present my lines to that character into thin air. No actor really likes having to do it, but in community companies it happens often. That is the nature of the beast. Common, but slightly stressful.

Then there were some costume issues. I was only able to wear one suit out of the four that were waiting for me. (I have not yet tried on most of these costume pieces.) A sign attached to each requested me to not wear any pants that were not hemmed. None of the pants for the first half of the show were ready to go, so I was unable to wear a costume for those scenes, while mostly everyone else was doing so. I don't like being out of step with the rest of the cast like that, especially during tech week. But it is what it is.

The costume person arrived sometime after rehearsal started for a brief stay. Sadly, it was during a stretch of play where I am going on and off stage several times, and I had no time to try on costumes as requested. I hate to make the job of technical crews more difficult, and I try to always be as accommodating as I can be to their needs and schedules. But I am an actor first, and I couldn't risk missing a cue or holding up an entire tech rehearsal while I got fitted. I apologized, and hopefully whatever needs to be done with my suits can be done before rehearsal tonight. Either way, that caused me a bit more stress.

As did the 10 or so walk-on extras that were taking up quite a bit of space backstage during the first half of the show. Some of them made their way to the already crowded green room as well, where I personally don't think they need to be, as they have no costumes or props to worry about, and there is barely room for those of us in the regular cast. But I have no say in such matters.

The set construction is not quite finished, though most of the painting is. It's looking rather good, though as it was pointed out during notes, furniture keeps migrating. At one point I had to pick up an office chair and lift it over a couch, when normally I just slide it across the floor.

As to character issues, they are of course harder to explore when your scene partners are missing. But setting that aside I do think I managed to work some extra nuance into a few of my lines. I am enhancing the overall nature of the character's most notable traits. Hopefully without being over the top.

For one, I slicked my hair back far more so than I would in real life. Going for that whole Wall Street look. I think it matches the suits well. I also added an old gaudy ring I have had laying around for years. Used to be my father's though he never wore that hideous adornment. I had to wrap tape around the bottom several times to get it to fit my finger, but once that was done, I think it added a nice touch to Tony's overall look. He would certainly be wearing some kind of "bling" as they call it these days.

We also ran curtain call for the first time. not much to report there. Nothing fancy.

Probably the biggest news from last night was the decision to remove the live dog from the production. And not, as some of my cast mates joked, because of my allergies. The dog's owner concluded that she (the dog) seemed too confused by the surroundings. Also that with everything else that is going on, correcting said difficulties would prove too time consuming. There was some talk of bringing in a different live dog, though at this point I think using a stuffed one is probably best. We won't know for sure until tonight.

Other technical issues seemed to go all right. I haven't used the actual gun yet, and some of the light cues were apparently missed, though I myself didn't notice that. I only know it because the director said so.

The sound effect for the gun will no longer be a firing of a blank off stage. It will come from a short two-by-four being slapped quickly onto the floor off stage. We tried it last night, and it provided a suitably loud "crack". The trick will be keeping the one that is making the noise in my line of sight so I can pull the trigger at the correct time. It worked last night just fine, but that was before there was a door for me to shoot through. So that is something I hope is in place tonight as well.

Thus is where things stand with two rehearsal remaining. Or possibly three, as the option for Wednesday night being an extra night of rehearsal remains open. I personally would not mind coming in on Wednesday as well, but the director will decide that after seeing how well it goes tonight.

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