There is something magical about sitting in an audience as the house lights dim.

The buzz in the room settles into quiet anticipation as we wait to be transported into someone else's world, someone else's story. But what we see on the stage is just the culmination of weeks, sometimes months of work behind the scenes by artists of all description: actors, directors, designers, wardrobe people, carpenters, painters, sound and light experts and others.

This blog will give you a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into that unknown world, following the rehearsal process.
This will be your guide to the hard work, fun and weirdness of putting together a play
for a professional theatre company.

You'll never watch a play in the same way again!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Now blogging: Kelly Rae Jenken, Apprentice Director of Vigil by Morris Panych, on at PTE November 19 - December 7, 2014

November 12 - Merry Tech Week (one week and counting)!

The Brian Perchaluk's set before
Scott Henderson's lighting
has been added.
Hi! You’ve caught us in the middle of a lighting levels session. Oh, and it’s now officially tech week. Welcome! This is an exciting time in the rehearsal process. I don’t know how others feel about tech week, but I love it. Tech week is Christmas! Yes, the days are long, the tasks are tedious, and everybody is stressed and exhausted, but this is when the show really comes alive; this is what we’ve been working towards!

Michael Spencer-Davis &
Doreen Brownstone in the Rehearsal Hall
For the past 16 days, we’ve been enjoying the work the actors have been doing in the rehearsal hall. Now we get to appreciate the work of the all the other artists involved with this production.

The set with one of the multitude
of lighting cues.
As I said, we’re currently having a lighting level party, and Lighting Designer Scott Henderson is our gracious host. He’s sitting about 3 rows back, mumbling into his headset something about dimmers and channels. “Can I get 25 at 50%, 34 though 36 at 40. 45. 50. Great. Record that as light cue 17.” "Lighting levels" is exactly what it sounds like: Scott is deciding where he wants the light to hit the stage, and at what intensity. More than that, he’s also creating “looks”, as in a “daytime sunny summer” look versus a “spring evening raining” look. Vigil is a tricky little play: Scott has the task of lighting 39 different scenes (39!!). He has to deal with the changing of seasons, weather conditions, time of day, and he only has two level sessions to do that in. You see where I’m going, when I say tech week is stressful.

In the next couple of days, we will be treated to the  music that Greg Lowe composed for the show, the set will get its final touches, the actors will have their “spacing rehearsal” where they work out their blocking for the first time on the set, and then soon enough, the actors will be in costume. Basically, for the next three twelve-hour days, not one of us will see daylight (unless Scott programmed a daylight look into one of the scenes). And then my friends, it will be show time! (Already!)

This week's rehearsal fun fact: Set &Costume Designer Brian Perchaluk is often seen running around the theatre with arms full of strange objects to add to the set as “set dressing”. Every time I walk into the theatre, I see something new on the stage that I’ve never seen before. Today’s discoveries include: a "Judy" dress form, Japanese parasols, and a contraption that has a frying pan and an anvil attached (you'll see what it's for when you see the show).

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