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!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

THE BIRDS AND THE BEES - Q to Q and Quick Changes: Who Knew Actors Had to REHEARSE Getting Dressed?

Now blogging: Laura Lussier, Assistant to the Director

What the heck is Q to Q? 

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. In the last post, I described how we built all kinds of lighting and sound cues at the beginning of tech week. Once the cues are built, Q to Q is the Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager’s time to rehearse their very important role. In our case, our wonderful SM Mike Duggan is “calling the show”, which means he gets to say exciting things like “Lights 41 and Sound 32 – GO!” Timing is everything. Mike gets a couple of tries for each cue as we test them out, but shortly after Q to Q, it’s performance time, so the pressure’s on! It’s a very short time (a day to a day and a half to get through the entire show), and he worked extraordinarily well under pressure.

During Q to Q, the designers keep refining their cues in collaboration with the other designers and the director. Backstage, the actors and our fabulous Assistant Stage Manager, Linsey Callaghan, are refining what has to happen backstage to make sure that all the actors go onstage in the right costumes at the right time. They rehearse what we call “Quick Changes”, because the timing of these rapid costume changes affects the cues. The ASM and the actors work together to determine how the clothes, accessories, shoes, and in the case of this play, underwear (!), need to be laid out in order for the change to go smoothly. Not every play has Quick Changes, but this play takes place over several months and seasons; consequently, many changes are necessary. During Q to Q, the actors rehearse and rehearse and rehearse getting dressed and undressed (it sounds hilarious, but it’s true!), and without our amazing and efficient ASM, those quick changes just wouldn’t be possible!

So, everything and I mean EVERYTHING is rehearsed as much as possible in this important time called Q to Q so that the intricate technical and artistic dance that is a play, works. And this play works SO well! We’re very lucky to have such a dedicated and talented design team and technical crew working on this play. I wish that everyone working behind the scenes (Designers, Stage Managers, Directors, Technicians, Production Peeps, Administration, etc.) could come out onstage and take a bow every night. But I know PTE audiences applaud so generously that everyone involved in the creation of the play will feel appreciated no matter where they are, so thank you in advance, dear audience members!


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