So, I had an idea today. Since everyone now live blogs or tweets through major events like the Grammys or presidential debates, I thought I should be live blogging the upcoming middle school play. Because, the truth is, everyone wants to be involved in a middle school play at my school. And if you don't, that's only because you don't what you're missing. Sadly I only had this idea today, which means I've missed tech day and the first two dress rehearsals. So, I'll ctach-up posts on them. I'll start with last Friday:
Friday: February 10th. Rehearsal went very well today. Running time is looking good. It appears that we'll be at two hours, maybe just a bit over by the time we put set changes and intermission in. Things are going very smoothly. Tech day is tomorrow. I'm nervous about that, just because the set is so huge, huge, huge! I've got great stage managers, though, and some good crew members.
Saturday, February 11th. Tech Day. This is biggest and longest and most tiring day of the year. I approach it with fear and trepidation mixed with excitement.
Arrive at 8:00 and get some charts printed, get the piano lamp for the piano player, do a few other things. Stage crew arrives at 8:30 am. We talk about safety, following the stage manager, and I give them donuts and juice. We start cleaning up the theatre, getting everything in place.
Now, we walk through each scene and I show there where all the set pieces go. This takes a while because once we have things set, the stage manager has to record who will be moving it on and who will be moving it off. This has to be exact and everyone has to know what they are doing.
We also have to spike everything. This means, we put some colored glow-in-the-dark tape on the stage floor to mark where each set piece goes. This way, the crew will be able to place things in the correct place, consistently, even in the dark.
I'm already seeing some exceptional work by the stage crew. Lots of thinking and planning ahead. They're getting it.
One of our challenges are these huge pieces of scaffolding. They each have a piece of New York City painted on them. There are five of them and they cross the stage--about 40 feet wide altogether. I think there are 8-12 feet tall. They are very heavy and cumbersome. Fortunately we don't have to move them often, but they are hard for the kids to move. The wheels don't turn easily. I'm getting worried about this part of it. These are middle school kids, so they don't have a lot of mass to be throwing against this!
Wow. Ran through the whole show much faster than usual. I attribute this to my stage manager who has done this for years. She knows what's going on and she has some very good assistants. Experience makes a big difference. Also, the scenery for this play is huge! But, there are not that many individual scenes, so that helps.
We run the set changes again. Scaffolding is going to be a major problem. We are going to need to change that at intermission. I hate that because I don't want to reveal the beautiful restaurant set too soon, but there's no realistic way around that. Gosh, I wish we had a proper grand drape--the curtain that closes in front of a stage. It would be nice. Thought about getting one for this show, but it was too expensive and we just upgraded our sound equipment. Maybe next year.
Ran through set changes again. These kids are amazing. 11:30--Lunch break. After lunch the cast comes. We'll see how this goes...
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