Can you believe that tech week is next week? I can’t. I love tech week, but I feel like our Saturday rehearsals have gone by too quickly. That being said, we are in good shape. There are only 2 scenes that we haven’t really blocked yet, the dances are looking good, and now that kids are remembering their lyrics, our music is in good shape, too.
So what is tech week? For any newbies, I will explain. Tech week (or technical week), known by another name for older kids, is meant to be the week where all of the technical stuff – sound, lights, etc. – are used for the first time and all the kinks are worked out. In an ideal world, the show itself is pretty much ready when this happens and the adjustment has more to do with the actors working with the tech for the first time, and adjusting blocking and choreography for the set and stage, as this is the first time that the actors have the stage to work with as it will be in the show. Generally speaking, at this point all major props and costumes would have already been a part of the rehearsal process and shoes would have been worn by actors at all rehearsals starting on day 1. Tech week, therefore, is more for the crew than it is for the actors in a lot of ways. However, in telling you all this, I am telling you how tech week works at a higher, more professional level.
At NDW, tech week is a little different. Some things are the same. For example, we have the set for the first time and our actors have to adjust to that. We also have crew figuring out the flow of the show, and we add in lights and sound. But our tech week is more for the actors than for the crew. Our crew of parent and alumni volunteers work around us, making it much easier for us to get our actors ready.
The biggest thing about tech week is that we hit the floor running. We are up on the stage adjusting blocking as needed, figuring out spacing things or difficult blocking that requires timing based on the Wilson auditorium (like our protest scene in this show). Dances get fixed and practiced over and over, and for singing, we bring in other band members for the actors to work with during their musical numbers (this is a feature of all musical tech weeks, as well). There can be a lot of down time, as we focus on just one thing here and one thing there, but the kids have to be ready to jump up at a moment’s notice when their scenes/dances/musical numbers come up.
Generally speaking, we try to divide and conquer when we’re not just running the show from start to finish. For example, this week you might see Lisa working with kids up on stage (with Chris there as well), while Cindy will take some kids into the hallway to run a scene and I take other kids into another hallway to run another scene. And, while all this is going on Chris is practicing the music with our pit band while Cindy and I field questions about scene changes, props, costumes, and more. When at Wilson, I even design lights and help to train our light board person.
For the Friends of NDW board, they do so much during tech week I don’t even know everything they do. Some are helping with the set and with stage crew. Some are taking care of ticket sales. Some help with costumes. Some make sure that everything is ready for concessions. Everyone is there to support everyone else.
And really – that’s what tech week at NDW is all about: support. We have volunteers who come every night to help all of us get ready for the show. The staff helps the actors be the best they can possible be during tech week (assuming they listen to us). The actors help each other, and more importantly, they bond with one another. Tech week is a time when everyone bonds. Actors, parents, staff. This is the time that we all get to know one another because we spend every day together!
And so, as we get ready for this fun and fast-paced week, please remember to stay healthy. Eat right, not junk. Stay hydrated. Do your homework before rehearsal so that you can go to bed a reasonable hour (and get enough sleep). And most importantly – get ready to work hard and have a ton of fun!
See you Saturday,