Technical rehearsals

PAPER TECH – Participants: Director, Lighting Designer,  Sound Designer,  Costume Designer (if needed, especially with crucial quick costume changes) Technical Director, Stage Manager.

What Needs to be done:  Discussion and annotation of every cue in the show.  Director describes to lighting, set, costume, sound designer what s/he aesthetically wants to have happen in the cue.  As an example:  “in this cue, lights slowly fade in the room stage left, maybe a ten count, music starts, in the background, as soon as the light cue is called, builds with the scenery changing stage right.  Actors leave stage left for quick costume change, while characters walk in as soon as the light rises on stage right.  Fade music with actor’s first line.”  This is a very important meeting.  None of these discussions need occur when the technical crew or actors are around.  Planning and foreseeing problems are what this meeting is for.

Goal:  Cues are marked (in pencil), show conventions are establish (as an example, director and lighting designer decide that all blackouts are really “blue-outs” for scene changes, or all “fade to black” cues will not be bump counts, but 1 second fades)

DRY TECH – Participants: Director, Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Costume Designer (if needed, especially with crucial quick costume changes) Technical Director, Stage Manager and technical crew. 

What Needs to be done:  This should be where theory becomes reality.  Help yourself out as Director and lighting designer by deciding early on various “looks” that reoccur in the script, so that you can come back to those if they are repeated.  Some examples – early morning though the stage right window, noontime, late evening/moonlight.  Put in you light counts/cues but only in pencil, as things change with actors.  It doesn’t hurt to have costumes draped in areas of the set to get a feel for how lights would look on them.  Have an actor walk through the light cues with you, and reward him/her well.  It is wise to encourage actors to be a part of Dry Tech if their schedules allow.  This may be the only time they actually “see” the show, and fully appreciate how technical theatre works!

Goal:  All marked cues are rehearsed, listened to, and viewed at least once.  All set changes involving tech crew are rehearsed.

WET TECH – Dry tech with Actors.  If you’ve done your previous techs well, and anticipated problems, this should flow well.  Allow at least triple your play run time for this rehearsal.  One hard fast rule – this is not a rehearsal for directors and actors!  It is about adjustments in blocking due to lighting “marks”, adjustment of voice and sound levels, but not about line delivery and motivation.
No actors should wear white or light colored clothing unless specified by the script.

What Needs to be done:  This rehearsal is for set changes, actors finding their light, costume changes that are technical in nature (wigs, trick costumes, on stage costume changes, offstage quick costume changes) sound cues timed with lines and set changes. 

Goal:  A free flowing technical show, where cast and crew get to rehearse with lights and sound, balance of sound and speaking voices.  Safety is always your main concern, especially with scene changes, often done in the dark.

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