Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Peek Behind the Scenes: The making of Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy"

4/25/11

It has been ages…but sometimes "tech" beckons!

By Matthew Melchiorre
Production Stage Manager

It feels like AGES since I wrote my last post.  For the past week I’ve been hoping that someone would listen to my rants that just a few more hours added to each day would help me work on other tasks…you know, write another blog post, clean the apartment, life.  ALAS, my calls went unheard…such is the way, as we approach the big weekend of long days and endless nights known as tech weekend. (we refer to “technical rehearsals” as “tech)  That’s right kids…we are at that time ALREADY!  We’ve packed up all the props and furniture in the rehearsal room…pealed up all that tape that we so dauntingly laid out on the rehearsal room floor and we all boarded Metro-North trains to Westport for a weekend of sitting in the dark and tackling the next hurdle of putting it all together...lights, scene shifts, costumes, sound…the whole kit and caboodle.

Basically, we all get to sit at our tech tables and make the director’s vision come alive. The designers create cues and pass them along to me who makes it all happen.  Sound stressful? Well, it depends. There is a lot of finessing that we get to do and we will go back and keep trying.  It’s never perfect the first time!  Occasionally over the weekend, David Kennedy, has walked up to “Mission Control” and said those dreaded words “That was perfect”…so I guess the pressure is on!  FYI…”Mission Control” is what I like to call my tech table.  It’s my tech table…full of monitors and cue lights, microphones, my headset to communicate with everyone and naturally my script.  OH Yes…tons of Post-Its to write cues on.  On my day off I will go back and write the cues neatly into the script, but during the quick pace of tech I’ve found Post-Its to be an easy solution. 

The weekend can sometimes get tense…there is a lot to accomplish in a finite amount of time before the paying audience is at the door.  There is some problem solving that happens.  Occasionally, a quick change for a costume takes too much time so we all have to brainstorm and figure out a way to make it work…maybe that is changing the costume, maybe it is changing an entrance or exit…but NOW is the time to figure it out.  Also, rapidly coming through the door are the real props, furniture and set dressing that will be used in the production.  Sometimes the original furniture we have been using doesn’t quite work when the whole world is put together.  I cannot tell you how many chaise lounges we have gone through in the past three days to find the right one that fits.  And even at the staging needed to be adjusted!  You see the pattern?  It’s not the pieces of the puzzle almost fitting…they should fit correctly.  

So Sunday has now come and gone.  We were able to tech through the show and then start back at the very beginning and worked through the entire show.  We have walked in the door this lovely Tuesday with more new items to work with as we approach a final dress rehearsal and our first preview. We are ready with anticipation for what you audiences have in store for us as we step before you this evening.  Enjoy!

My "tech" table.  See the Post-Its?!  Very necessary!

View of the stage from my tech table. 
Wait until you see once it has all come together!

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