Author Topic: INTERNATIONAL: Who Runs the Tech?  (Read 6466 times)

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smsam

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INTERNATIONAL: Who Runs the Tech?
« on: Apr 29, 2007, 06:12 am »
Hi All,

Just curious really... In the 'US Style' of Stage Management (where the SM actually calls the show) who runs the technical rehearsal?

Because in the UK the DSM (Deputy Stage Manager) runs/ calls the show the Stage Manager will run the tech in liason with the DSM on the book and all the designers and ops.

Also just wondering what peoples preferred methods of running techs are. I personally would rather run all the way through (just skipping large monologues) if time allows but if not I'll just go cue-to-cue. But other Stage Managers I know like to go to each entrance/ exit or cue (which ever is first...).

Just curious!

Sam x
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:24 am by PSMKay »
Sam x

KMC

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 29, 2007, 12:03 pm »
Sam,

The tech rehearsal is yours.  It's the stage manager's responsibility to tie together all elements of the production, and tech rehearsal is your time to do that.

As for how I run my techs, that depends largely on the show.  If there are a lot of light cues or deck cues etc... I will do a cue-to-cue before any actors are in the space.  If there are a lot of complicated sequences that involve lighting, flys, scenery movement, or a couple of different elements I will actually do a dry-tech.  I will video run in the later stages of rehearsal and then sit down in a room with all the necessary people, basically the designers, TD and my ASMs and work through any potential trouble spots before we're "on the hot seat" during tech.

If it's a play that has just a few cues here and there and nothing terribly complicated I will literally just run as a dress rehearsal (as I've found usually it's more valuable to get an uninterrupted run in), if we hit any train wrecks we'll stop, if not just hash over notes at the end and go back and hit trouble spots.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

MatthewShiner

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 29, 2007, 05:37 pm »
The most typical format would be for the SM to run tech, with ASMs running backstage or being on book,

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Scott

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 30, 2007, 02:02 pm »
Also just wondering what peoples preferred methods of running techs are. I personally would rather run all the way through (just skipping large monologues) if time allows but if not I'll just go cue-to-cue. But other Stage Managers I know like to go to each entrance/ exit or cue (which ever is first...).

I hugely prefer not to go Q-to-Q or entrance/exits but instead to run all the way through.  I think that Kelly (Thomas, "Backstage Guide to Stage Management") makes a compelling arguement against Q-to-Q (if I recall the text correctly.)

thehayworth

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 30, 2007, 02:19 pm »
What we need / I want to do in Tech largely depends on the needs of the show.  if it is a musical with lots of scene changes, wagons, fly cues, and so on, we'll do a dry tech w/o actors until we get it down, then if we NEED it , go Q2Q with actrons.  my preference is to just RUN the show, no matter what the show, because it is better practice for me and the actors ... but it is not always the best solution
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smejs

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #5 on: Apr 30, 2007, 11:33 pm »
I find that jumping to the "next section" for Q to Q - calling hold, telling them where we're jumping to getting everyone set up, and then starting back up again - often takes as much time if not more than just running straight through....unless you literally have 35 minutes between cues as I did for one show.

And if it's a show that tech simple - you may as well spend time on the acting onstage...you have eons to adjust the light cue looks around the actors (other than fade up/down times).

Erin

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2007, 07:33 am »
I second SMEJS.  A Q2Q often is more tedious for everybody involved.  Especially if the LD is trying to program....talk about waste of everybody's time.

I think its easier just to run everything as is.  Also, then you can discover where problem spots might be with blocking and what the set actually is.
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Balletdork

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2007, 10:04 am »
Yup. I hated Q2Q when I was forced to do it in college, and I would never do one now.

However- when it's absolutely needed I will schedule a separate shift rehearsal.

Example: I always save an hour of time w/ technicians during Nutcracker to put our Marie & Prince (children) in the sleigh, because it flys, and they need some time to get used to flying in a sleigh; in this hour we also run the Princes costumes reveal- where his Nutcracker costume is literally ripped off him via fishing line from the wing to reveal him as the Prince; and we do the Sugar Plum drag- which is a small piece of marley florr which the Plum piques onto and we drap her 1/2 across the stage using aircraft cable laid tight to the floor. - These are pretty specific bits that need some time to play about with cast and crew, who also generally need to make notes as we traditionally use 2 casts of children, and 5 casts of Sugar Plum's over the run- so everything runs a little different for each cast.

However, I certainly don't need the other 100+ dancres hanging out in the wings during this time!  ;)

 

thehayworth

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 03:47 pm »
I've found that in Shakespeare all of the cues revolve around scene transitions - actors entrering and exiting - and the light cues and sound cues that accompany it.  in that case, for timing purposes, a Q2Q with actors is invaluable.
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BalletPSM

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2007, 01:09 am »
AAAAH I'm in my one minute per day of not thinking about nutcracker and there you go having to use it as an example!  =)

« Last Edit: May 04, 2007, 01:11 am by BalletPSM »
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

malewen

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2007, 03:45 am »
I would agree with Matthew that the typical arrangement would be for the SM to work with the creative team (putting cues into the prompt script, calling them, etc.) while the ASM runs the deck.  However, I would have to say that I wouldn't characterize the process as "mine."  I consider tech to be a part of the rehearsal process and what I try to do in the rehearsal process is to organize/run the rehearsal in a way that allows the creative team to create the production the way it has been envisioned by them.  This means that I will vary the way the tech process goes forward after consulting with the director and the designers.  I want them to do their best work and am willing to work the way we all decide is best for that production.  It may mean putting some cues in my script before the actors are called to the stage or it may not.  The director may need time to restage things if there set has levels that weren't built in the rehearsal hall.

At Steppenwolf, with very rare exceptions, we work through the show form the top without doing a cue to cue first.  This makes the process much slower but allows everyone (including the cast) the chance to work through any and all problems.  If you have some scenes without internal cues, it often doesn't take too long to run them but it can take a while to figure out where everyone will be if you skip chunks of the show.  I should say that we have a lot of tech time with the actors (41 hours before we have an invited dress and another 5 hours the day after the dress before our first preview - and we have 9 days of previews/rehearsals).  With less time, using cue to cues can be efficient but requires real planning on the SM's part.  Also for us, the first day of tech is usually the first day on the set - we move over from the rehearsal hall at the end of the day before.  Unless something has gone wrong, at our first tech the set is fully loaded in, the lights are focused, the speakers placed, the sound system checked, the costumes preset (and in the the dressing rooms) and often some of the designers have set basic cues on their own.  But then we just bear down and work our way through. . .

smsam

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2007, 10:48 am »
This is all really interesting. It seems there are differences in the UK but overall the principals of a tech are very similar.

Over here (and I'm speaking in terms of professional commercial theatre now) the Stage Manager always runs the tech. The difference is, is that the SM isn't the one 'On the Book', thats the Deputy Stage Manager. The ASMs then 'run the deck', if you like, running/ managing the crew with the SM.

The DSM will normally always meet with each of the designers before the tech to do a cue-session/ pre-plot. This is where the designers will place the cues in 'The Book' with the DSM. Depending on how technically complex the scene changes are the next thing (after the load-in/ fit-up/ focus/ sound check etc.) would be scene change/ shift rehearsal where the Stage Manager and the Automation Department go change by change choreographing the scene shifts.

Once this is done (if required) and the Lighting and Sound if plotted the tech can start. As far as running the tech is concerned the SM takes overall control. For cue-heavy shows your likely to run all the way through however for more clasical plays perhaps with long monologues you are likely to jump around more. You start at the top and anytime anyone wants to stop (i.e. the DSM on book, Designers, Directors etc.) they must ask the Stage Manager who will call stop. The Stage Manager will then ask the DSM where they should go from in the script and the Stage Manger will reset the stage and actors to this place while the DSM deals with resetting the lighting/ sound etc. When the DSM and all the Designers are happy to resume they will ask the SM to continue and she/ he will communicate this to the cast (normally with a "OK, When your ready Thank-You" - or similar).

This system seems to work really well, especially when you've got a lot of production departments (i.e. Lighting, Sound, AV, Automation, Flys etc.) because the DSM is free to concentrate on practicing calling the show correctly and dealing with the Production Team whereas the SM can deal with the cast onstage/ designers/ director and ASMs. It also means the SMs voice is the only one ever to be heard over the God Mic/ Onstage so its nice and clear for the cast...

Thoughts? Opinions? Views?

Sam x
Sam x

ljh007

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2007, 07:05 pm »
Working in opera, I never ever get a technical rehearsal. No cue-to-cue, sometimes barely even a pause to be sure a scene change ran well. In larger companies, major set changes or special fx (fire) might get a dry run. Sometimes I would try to run shifts at the end of building calls or at the tail end of a rehearsal, but there are dicey union issues in trying to do this. Really, the lighting sessions (setting levels) are kind of considered your tech rehearsals. When the singers are onstage and the orchestra is in the pit, you're never given the time to focus on tech; Everyone just digs in and makes it happen. Miraculously, we always get through okay. But you're adjusting cues right up to opening night (and sometimes beyond).

Balletdork

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Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2007, 09:59 am »
Working in opera, I never ever get a technical rehearsal. No cue-to-cue, sometimes barely even a pause to be sure a scene change ran well. In larger companies, major set changes or special fx (fire) might get a dry run. Sometimes I would try to run shifts at the end of building calls or at the tail end of a rehearsal, but there are dicey union issues in trying to do this. Really, the lighting sessions (setting levels) are kind of considered your tech rehearsals. When the singers are onstage and the orchestra is in the pit, you're never given the time to focus on tech; Everyone just digs in and makes it happen. Miraculously, we always get through okay. But you're adjusting cues right up to opening night (and sometimes beyond).

The same in my ballet company!

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