Saturday, July 17, 2004

Welcome To a Good Old Theatre Tradition: Hell Week

So I mentioned in my last post that Hell Week was coming. And now it's here, kicked off with Tech Weekend (or Hell Weekend, if you prefer.)

What is this fearsome tradition?

Well at Foothill it starts with two very long days the Saturday and Sunday before Opening Night, and it's the time when the actors just have to let go and let the production design team use them like pieces they might move around on a chess board.

No matter how long and how well a show is rehearsed, when you get to Hell Week it's a whole new ball of wax. No matter that you've been rehearsing on set pieces for a while; no matter that you've been wearing a rehearsal skirt and proper shoes; no matter that you've had a live accompanist throughout...when the set, the lighting, the costumes, the make-up and the orchestra are all added into the's a whole new ball of wax.

And it's new for the designers too. To see their concepts come to life. To see how the actors are really moving around in your costumes. To see how your lighting design really illuminates the live action.

This show is a hugely challenging technical endeavor. Although the cast has been running the show straight through for a surprisingly (to them) long while, there will definitely be a lot of new things going on over the weekend. Some of it will immediately make the cast feel more in character or contribute to the feeling of being in the moment. Some of it will start out as a distraction.

But all of it will be part of the grand audience experience of seeing "Ragtime."

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