Have you ever watched one of those "reality tv shows" in which someone's skills are put to the test whether it be singing, baking cupcakes, or finding the bachelor of your dreams? In each episode, someone is eliminated because they don't have what it takes and with each episode the obstacles become greater and greater until someone eventually comes out the winner with an insane cash prize?
In my experience, tech weekend can put a show to the test. Thankfully in our One Act Festival there is no elimination round but, like these tv shows, new challenges are added that effect your play. The first portion and usually the longest is the initial day. We add lights and sound cues which are programmed into their respective boards and we practice for the first time marrying the technical aspects with the human component. It is during the run that the consistency of the show is often revealed because an actor can be asked to do a sequence over in order to make sure everything is aligned as it should be for the play. Most of the time, the actors do not see what the light looks like around them and yet they must adapt to the mood that it is creating. In order to accomplish this, the show must be in a stable place so that the actors can accommodate. Likewise, the sounds that they are hearing have to be met with the correct projection of their own voice, even though they had never heard it over the system before. So yet again, the show must be in a good place so that these components can be accounted for readily. In our case, both the lighting and sound were on the same day as dress rehearsal.
Dress rehearsal for this particular show involved putting on their costumes for the first time to be performed in and doing their hair and makeup. Because my cast has just attended a funeral service, my costumes, hair, and makeup were more complex than my colleagues plays. However, there were many accomplishments in this process. Three of my ladies learned how to do a smokey-eye, one learned how to create old age makeup and one even learned how to apply makeup for the first time ever. As always there were mishaps, the biggest of which being one of my ladies had her skirt rip (twice!) but my costumer managed to repair it before they even went on stage.
With the tech and dress, my cast had a lot on their plate. But after watching them begin to use these elements to enrich their storytelling. I can see where this play is headed. It is from this launching point that the show changes rapidly because everything that once seemed chaotic begins to fall into place. It's an exciting place to be.