Letters from the Rehearsal Room Part Five
I am writing to you from deep within tech—the period in which we add the technical and design elements in one marathon week. Actors work 12 hour days (including some breaks) and designers and crew work even longer. Most of that time is spent in a dark theatre, waiting, broken up by moments of feverish activity. If you’ve ever seen behind-the-scenes footage of a film or TV shoot, when the cameras stop rolling and the crew descends on the performers and set, then you’ve had a window into tech.
Even in the middle of the day tech has the feel of a late night. It’s painstaking and grueling, which makes it even more rewarding when something works. It feels earned. You start to see the performance take its final shape. And there is a massive group effort to keep spirits high. Actors, unsurprisingly, are great at this.
Here are some snapshots I observed from our tech week:
-Becky Gibel, waiting to enter at the top of act 2 with a candle dancing backstage.
-Jake Blouch (Fedotik) got a haircut that was the talk of the green room. Everyone who came in commented on it. Becky was so eager to compliment him that despite having a mouth of food, she attempted to mime her approval.
-Scott Greer (Chebutikin) kept designers and his castmates entertained with a complicated ukulele dance while the crew worked out the best way to move furniture between acts.
-Scott Greer, Mary Tuomanen (Irina), Katharine Powell (Masha), Dan Ison, Abby Perelman (resident green room teenager and daughter of TD Glenn Perelman), and Becky Gibel sitting around the green room table having a lively and wide-ranging conversation about: evolution, obscure South American tribes, matrilineal mammalian societies (whales, elephants, etc), whether dolphins have possessions, a strange trip to a Southern zoo, and whether babies should unionize.
-Scott Greer and Jake Blouch sizing up each other’s fantasy baseball teams. They had their league draft the night before. Both are optimistic.
-Four month old Henry Riggar, Production Manager Courtney Riggar’s son, propped up on the green room couch, looking thoughtful. Just one of the guys!
-Alison Roberts (Wardrobe Supervisor) holding the ‘opposed’ side in a debate about the merits of Billy Joel.
During a run of the show, I was once again reminded of the relevance of Chekhov when we got to this line of Masha’s: “I’m sick of winter. I’ve forgotten what summer feels like.” Hopefully we’ll be closer to Spring next time I write. I hear we’re getting a wintry mix on Monday, though. In the meantime, first performance for audiences tonight!
Three Sisters Dramaturg