The day started like any normal Tech Sunday. The sun was bright, and it had finally begun to feel like spring. Birds chirped tunes of happiness, and the flowers had begun their trek upwards, searching for the warmth that would bring spring colors to winter dirt. I knew, as I entered the theatre today, that I would enjoy none of it. My light would be that of fresnels and Source Fours. The sound would be the canned music chosen by Kyle for the transitions between the 23 scenes of Stop Kiss. And the colors shining before my eyes would be that of reds, blacks, browns, greys and other varieties of the dozens, no hundreds…. no thousands of costumes that were part of todays technical rehearsal.
Adding costumes to a productions technical week always gets the heart racing of even the most seasoned theatre practicitioner. Will the costumes fit the actors and actresses? Did the lighting designer choose the most flattering gels to color the costumes? And how many quick changes will take over 5 minutes, as the director sits in his chair, mumbling to himself that he could have eating a four course dinner while the change was happening?
Well, for those that followed yesterday’s blog, you know how swimmingly everything went. It was as if we were dancing under a rainbow, and butterflies flew around us as every cue seemed to work flawlessly. Today, well, that is another story. It appears that an ogre came and stomped upon those butterflies while the rainbow was chopped into pieces and boiled with as much gray colored vegetables as the cook could find.
The morning rehearsal did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. Though we had 23 scenes to work through, we only managed to accomplish 5 scenes worth of work. The decision was made early on to work the costumes changes. See, this show, it kind of requires a multitude of looks. And one character happens to be in every scene. So our quick change artists, Shelly, Courtney and Ann, had their work cut out for them. A short disclaimer: none of these three has every been part of a quick change crew. They were coming in blind, with smiles on their faces. And it was my job to teach them as best I could, which made me the guy to take those smiles and toss them on the ground. But a wonderful thing occurred. They stayed positive through ever repeat of every quick change. Even when we had done the same transition for the upteenth time, they smiled, said great, and went on their way.
As we hit the lunch hour, and the crew went about eating what they could scrounge on a Sunday in New Wilminton, PA, (which may have meant foraging in the forest), I knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. With 18 scenes still to go, it would easily be a miracle if we finished before the 6:00 pm call time. Well, bad news there: no miracle occurred. Or at least not a full miracle. Only half a miracle. So, let’s call it a mirac. I think that works.
Anyways, moving on. The cast and crew returned. Courtney Jackson, the costume designer, (not Courtney Edmondson, the actor), went about searching for a few more costumes for the upcoming scenes. Have I mentioned yet that their over OVER 9000 costumes in this show? After distributing the costumes to the appropriate personnel, away we went. Suddenly the scenes started adding up. We went from 6 to 7 to 8 faster than the morning, and with much more accuracy. The costume changes were beginning to fall below that 30 second threshold Dr. Mackenzie and I had set. Though people were tired, we pushed through, again, and again.
And then it happened. We hit the magic number, Scene 23. Had we managed to do it? Had we fully finished the production? I couldn’t believe it. I quickly looked to my cell phone to make sure we had finished by the time I had scheduled. And there it was ladies and gentleman. I looked and….
DAMN! It was 6:42 pm. Forty two full minutes after we had hoped to finish.
But then I realized something amazing. Not one student complained about the time. No one had informed me that we were running behind. I saw no pitchforks and torches coming at me. We had followed our passion, and pushed through to the end.
And though I would have rather finished on time, I was still happy. Because you could see in the eyes of the students that they understood why we worked so hard.
So that the audience could enjoy what we worked so hard to produce.