As I walked out of the theatre tonight, and finally stepped from the darkness of the unlit theatre to the brightness of the sun, I knew that we had been successful. Tech Saturday had finished, and we had begun to see the start of a final product. Over the next few days I will recount our technical process at Theatre Westminster, mixing a bit of information, a bit of comedy, and a bit of passion. It begins with my arrival at 9:00 am, on a Saturday morning, when most of the college world around me is still sleeping.
Now, understand that I have gotten used to early morning wakings, but for students working on their first production, this comes as quite a shock. As the 10:00 hour came, our crew assembled. Maggie Hess, our Stage Manager was there ready to make sure all the others were on time. The crew includes Josh Scott, Kim Moore, Melissa Folker, and Shelly Luczynski. Along with the crew, Dr. Scott Mackenzie, the director, and the scene and sound designers, Carol Sulla and Kyle Bruinooge, were present. And of course, the first thing that we had to take care: the eating of donuts. As has been tradition for as long as I can remember, I always provide donuts on Tech Saturday. I understand the need for food that early in the morning, and though I generally tend to eat a healthier breakfast, there is something to be said for donuts on a very busy, hectic day. And so we ate. And enjoyed, and talked about what the day was going to be comprised of.
The first step: figuring out what was not working. Such as the sound. We were having trouble with only one speaker working, and sound coming from our system, even when all the sliders were pulled down. Well, after about 30-45 minutes of attempting to fix it, we decided to let it go so that we could continue. We had planned for a cue-to-cue of the lights and sound, adding in the props and set elements in the afternoon. Much of the morning consisted of me adjusting light cues, working with Kyle on the sound timing, and working with Maggie on her cue calling. Starting at about 11:00 am, we finished the morning session at 1:00 pm. Why, you ask? Well, I have to keep the college students fed, now don’t I?
As the students headed for food, and Dr. Mackenzie heading up a tour of potential Theatre Westminster students, I headed back to work on sound, with the help of Technical Director Paula Ferguson. After toiling about for 10 minutes, we managed to get the sound in full working order. The excitement flowed just a bit through me. We would be able to incorporate and adjust our sound to it’s full potential. Another possible disaster averted. By then Carol and Shelly had shown back up, with something I supremely adore; Pizza Joes Buffalo Chicken Pizza! And, of course, they offered a piece to me. Out of a strong sense of politeness, I accepted it, and summarily devoured it.
As the 2:00 hour rolled around, the actors that would be assisting with the technical elements of the show arrived. Courtney Edmondson, Dan Gutmann, and Anne Rematt arrived ready to work, with Nolan Randall arriving a bit later. Ann should be commended here, as she also had a performance of opera this evening, so would be working in one way or another for most of the day. And straight to work we went. We begun again at the top of the show, and quickly proceeded through what we had gotten through earlier, only this time with the actual actors moving the set and prop pieces.
I cannot even begin to express how smoothly things went. These actors and technicians should be commended for the work they did today. The first half of the show went without a hitch, and then we began to plug through the second half of the show. The chances for mistakes were highest here. But again, these students proved that they could work above and beyond my expectations. Finally, as we worked through the final scene, we ran into a few bumps. Lighting focuses weren’t working, and I couldn’t seem to pull together a look that I liked. I told Dr. Mackenzie that I would adjust the focusing after rehearsal, and we continued on.
As we hit the home stretch, I couldn’t help but smile on the inside. This Tech Saturday was the smoothest I had worked on since starting at Westminster College in the fall of 2011. The credit goes to the students, and their passion and work ethic. Without them, none of this could have happened. And so, we move into Tech Sunday, with a little less trepidation, and a little more excitement. But tonight, well, tonight I rest. The week isn’t over yet.