Author Topic: Tech Rehearsal  (Read 5967 times)

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BackstageSM

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Tech Rehearsal
« on: Sep 27, 2008, 10:47 pm »
Hello Everyone!

I was just wondering how everyone runs their tech rehearsals.  Im always interested in learning new ways to do things and/or how everyone else is doing them. As far as running the rehearsal goes, do you usually have the light cues beforehand and you pretty much 'run' the play and stop for scene changes,etc...or when the lighting designer needs to stop?  Or do you usually go to a cue and then hold, wait for the designers to finish, and keep running the play and/or skip ahead to the next cue?   Im just interested, because sometimes when I'm running a tech rehearsal I feel like there is a more efficient way I could probably be doing it. Hopefully I asked that clearly enough for you to understand what I'm actually asking.  Thanks in advance!

Tempest

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #1 on: Sep 28, 2008, 12:30 pm »
I don't have a set way I run my techs.  I let the demands of each particular show dictate how things go. 
My current show is a musical (with tracks, not live band, thankfully!) with a LOT of light cues, a lot of projections, and couple of special effects.  Because I had been working with the tracks CD for weeks, I already knew the placements for almost all of the sound cues, the special effects were in the script, the projections almost all went with sound and light cues.  I had a meeting with the lighting designer a few days before tech to tenatively pre-place light cues.  It was about a three hour meeting, but we couldn't have accomplished tech in the time given, without it!
On tech days, we did a start/stop with actors marking most of the time to conserve their voices.  Any of the designers, director, producer or tech team could call a Hold.  Any time a cue needed to be fixed, added, moved, etc, we'd stop and do it, or, if it was going to be a lengthy fix, we'd stop, make notes on what needed to happen, and fix it during the actor's dinner break.  We'd usually run a number all the way through, let the actors take a break and fix internal cues before moving on.  Those placement meetings helped a lot to move things along, as we only RARELY had to stop and fix my timing.
After we start-stopped the whole show, got most of the fixes implemented, we did a run, taking technical notes to fix after the run and the actors had gone home.
Do note: We had two days of 10 of 12 scheduled, 12-12, Saturday and Sunday.  I was there 10 a.m. Saturday, left 3:30 a.m. Sunday.  I was back 9:30 a.m. Sunday and left 3 a.m. Monday morning.  I was definitely suffering from exhaustion by the time I got home 4 a.m. on Monday, but it was worth it; all the hard work had been done, and I was very secure in the tech aspects of the show.
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Mac Calder

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #2 on: Sep 28, 2008, 02:20 pm »
It all depends on your production schedule - you see idealy there will have been lighting plot sessions and time enough for the LD to have programmed everything - in an ideal world. That said, I would say that with close to two thirds of the small/medium sector, lighting plots are not anywhere near final. This sort of issue applies across the board - set pieces are not quite finished, audio nargles not sorted yet and the like. Now if these things are not final, there is absolutely no need to spend ages rehashing issues only for it to change when the programming/designing is complete.

You really have to talk to the production team about tech - the director will have their idea about how tech will run which you need to take into consideration, you have your methods which you want to include, and other departments will have certain things they need to see during tech. Some shows don't work well with a Cue-2-Cue rehearsal - some shows will only need a C2C.

I usually stress the following: Keep it moving, keep it relevant and keep it sane. Unless it is necessary for the tech to go forth, try not to dwell on a single issue. If it takes more than 10 minutes to fix and can be done at a later time, try to note the issue and move on. Don't go let things go off on tangents. Finally, keep it sane - don't let tempers get high.

All of tech depends on your production schedule - if you have the time after the main tech to fix issues and you have the ability to schedule just the core staff for the time required, grasp it. The less people in the room whilst working on what can turn into long and arduos tasks the better. Scenery changes for example are often best done this way - where you can work through difficult changes with only the techs, first slowly, then start speeding up, then, when all is up to speed, bring in the turns. Sometimes you don't have that luxury.

SMrose

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #3 on: Sep 28, 2008, 04:34 pm »
I like to have the tech schedule included when rehearsal schedule(s) are distributed.  I prefer to have everything scheduled (paper tech--this is very important because if you go through the show on paper w/ director and designers, you will have a good idea of the entire flow of the production before tech rehearsals). If I've scheduled things on paper, I'm not trying to fit in a lot of stuff after the fact. If it's a complicated show, I like to incorporate a Q to Q without actors (here's where the artistic staff can work out some bugs, timings, etc.).  If it's a multi-scene or complicated set show, I have a separate set change rehearsal (just for stage crew and designer and TD). Then it's on to the the Q to Q with actors.  In this rehearsal, after a cue is executed, if all parties are OK with the way the cue happened, I find the next cue in the show, put my operators/crew on stand by and stop the actors.  I then call the pick up line and we run the next cue. (Actor's love this as they don't stand around doing nothing for long peroids of time). If the cue did not go well, we run it again.  If it's a problem that doesn't involve the actors, as some of the other SM's said, we'll come back to that area of the show either after the actors are released from rehearsal or schedule time before the next rehearsal to work on it.

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #4 on: Oct 02, 2008, 03:40 pm »
The way I prefer is to go Cue to Cue.
I have my list from the lighting designer.
If there is a scene with a lot of cues I'll have them run the scene, freeze when necessary and then move on when we can.

Tech is for the Tech Crew...not for the actors.
But if possible, after we do the cue to cue I like to run it once after with lights....no stops.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #5 on: Oct 02, 2008, 03:52 pm »
Tech is for the tech crew and not the actors?  Wow.  That is such a the exact opposite of my theory on tech.  Tech is for everyone, including the actors.  The problem with running cue to cue, is how do we know where the cues go until we get actors on stage and in costumes with props, etc, etc - it all has to be interconnected in the tech process - if we have to move an actor over 2 feet because of their costume, then we need to add a light cue.  Going cue to cue you can miss a lot of little things that need to be taken care of.

At the LORT level I have never gotten a cue list from a lighting designer (sound designers, yes, lighting designers no.)  I worked with a very famous, tony award lighting designer who would could asking me during tech "When is the next cue?"

I start at the top with all tech elements and go through show without skipping anything.  (Before actors arrive, we may dry tech some heavy automation cues.)   I can tech a fairly complicated show in three days this way, and don't feel I have to go back over anything before run the show.

But, to think tech is not about actors seems to factor out a lot - actors are the one that have to find the lights, deal with the set, deal with the new props and costumes - in some ways, tech should be all about the actors.  Now, designers and tech staff need to get their job done as well.

Ultimately it is always about what is good for the show.
« Last Edit: Oct 02, 2008, 03:55 pm by MatthewShiner »
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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.

Sarah

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #6 on: Oct 02, 2008, 04:12 pm »
Quote
At the LORT level I have never gotten a cue list from a lighting designer (sound designers, yes, lighting designers no.)  I worked with a very famous, tony award lighting designer who would could asking me during tech "When is the next cue?"

Though I haven't worked with a Tony award winning LD, this has been my experience at the LORT and SPT levels, as well. I like the excitement of collaborating with the LD to create the smoothest possible transitions; if there are a lot of sound cues, I would most likely have run them during the rehearsal process so they are already in my book and only need to be tweaked by a few words or so. Dry techs, unless you are cueing sequences independent of actor involvement (how often does this happen?) are not, IMHO, terribly useful. Matthew is right; the actors also have to deal with all of the new elements at once and should be accorded enough time in the process to do so safely.

As long as the flow of the rehearsal is forward moving, productive and safe, and is, as Matthew points out, for the good of the show, then it is a successful and efficient technical rehearsal process.

jspeaker

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #7 on: Oct 02, 2008, 04:15 pm »
I agree with Matthew about 99%

I have had, at the LORT level, designers who give me a cue list heading into tech.  Of course thats never exactly how it ends up and cues are added or cut.

I think cue to cue can be pretty counterproductive.  Many times when you do a cue to cue the LX designer will go back and add cues that could have been added from the start if you teched as Matthew describes.  

I always tell my designers that unless there is a big train wreck onstage I will only ask for a hold when they ask for one.  I don't care if we are in the finale on stage and I can hear that the LD is working on cue 5.  You have to trust the designer to tell you what they need.  There is nothing worse in tech than sitting around waiting for something or someone who doesn't need to be waited for.

A lot of it depends on how your designer works (pre-cueing or cue as you go) and having that discussion before tech.

To say that tech is not about the actors is too broad.  It is about the actors as in the cases that Matthew has pointed out.  I can see where you might mean that it is not about working "moments" for acting values but in my tech if we are in a hold and the designers dont need them to stand somewhere specific I will give the cast and director that time to work as long as they are ready to move on when I am.
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Scott

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #8 on: Oct 07, 2008, 01:01 pm »
I'm with Matt also.  There are lots of good reasons to avoid a Q-2-Q -- I beleive The Backstage Guide Management (Kelly) has a good and compelling discussion of this.

Even if I thought tech was not primarily for crew (I don't), I hope I wouldn't make that opinion known to actors who will be spending 10 out 12 hours rehearsing!


Sarah

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Re: Tech Rehearsal
« Reply #9 on: Oct 08, 2008, 12:31 am »
Quote
There is nothing worse in tech than sitting around waiting for something or someone who doesn't need to be waited for.

Amen.

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