TECH HAPPENS

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

Brigham Young University’s production of Pride and Prejudice opens this coming Friday,
March 21st, which means the week leading up to those final dress rehearsals and opening night is dedicated to technical rehearsals, a.k.a. tech week. This is the week the cast begins rehearsing on the set in the Pardoe Theatre; the lights are hung, focused and finalized by the light designer and crew; the sound is equipped and cued by the sound designer; the set dressings and props are labeled and placed, and the costumes are “paraded” (or worn by the actors onstage) for one last, long, decisive look by the costume designer and staff. This is the week everything–the writing, acting and technical theatre–comes together.

The Bennets onstage for the first time, rehearsal corsets and all!

The Bennets onstage for the first time, rehearsal corsets and all!

Culminating tech week at BYU is a Saturday technical rehearsal known as a 10-out-of-12. This rehearsal is pretty much what it sounds like: a 12-hour day in which 10 hours are spent working the technical aspects into the show with the actors, broken up by two one-hour breaks. The rehearsal is run cue-to-cue, meaning the actors play a scene at the beginning of a cue and then skip to the end of that scene and the beginning of the next. This gives the technical crew opportunities to work their cues into the context of the play’s flow without having to wait for entire scenes to be played.

The Bennets enjoy a lengthy technical theatre pause in the parlour.

The Bennets enjoy a lengthy technical theatre pause in the parlour.

Tech rehearsal also means the actors spend a lot of time waiting…waiting for lighting adjustments to be made, waiting for sound cues to be replayed, and waiting to learn where that prop will be laid. All that waiting means one thing…social media! Below are pics and posts that were made during tech week for Pride and Prejudice.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE TECH WEEK with pictures from Becky Maskell, Lindsay Clark, Hillary Straga and Melissa Leilani Larson, our guides for this social media tour.

10-out-of-12 tech rehearsal with Becky Maskell and Allyson Thaxton

10-out-of-12 tech rehearsal with Becky Maskell and Allyson Thaxton

 Becky Maskell:  And. Here. We. Go! Welcome to tech week errybody! Today is a day of patience, long suffering, temperance, etc. Welcome to 12 hour tech rehearsal. So grateful for our awesome cast & crew. Let the bonding commence!

BECKY MASKELL selfie.

BECKY MASKELL  alla rehearsal corset under that stylin’ jacket

Another rehearsal corset, this time on HIllary Straga (playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh)

Another rehearsal corset, this time worn by Hillary Straga (playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becky Maskell: Rehearsal corset. Apparently it’s the latest fashion…

 

The actors portraying the Bennet family await lighting and sound cues to be finalized.

The actors portraying the Bennet family await lighting and sound cues to be finalized.

Melissa Leilani Larson: A letter from Jane.

 

Almost all the cast parading costumes for the Netherfield Ball scene.

Almost all the cast parading costumes for the Netherfield Ball scene.

Comments below this picture include: “All those lovely gowns.” “And regimentals!” “What a fun pic!” “This makes me feel excited to see the play!”

 

Lindsay Clark: Our lovely set.

A long pause as the cast waits (again) for the crew.

A long pause as the cast waits (again) for the crew. Great art takes great patience.

 

Becky Maskell: 8 hrs down…4 to go! We got this! 

Becky Maskell as the day wears on...

Becky Maskell as the day wears on…

Lizzy and Mr. Collins techin' each other out.

Lizzy and Mr. Collins “techin'” each other out. (See what we did there?)

Taking a long look at the full stage for PRIDE AND PREJUCIDE.

Taking a long look at the full stage for PRIDE AND PREJUCIDE. Characters being introduced as portraits within frames.

Logan Hayden: Among the frames I have worked on for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Melissa Leilani Larson: Woohoo Logan!

Lindsay Clark:  …Mr. Collins’ portrait.

Jacob Swain as Mr Collins waiting for lighting effects to be tested.

Jacob Swain as Mr Collins waiting for lighting effects to be tested.

Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas--they were framed!

Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas–they were framed!

Melissa Leilani Larson: Collins, Charlotte, and a ring to rule them all…

 

Ted Bushman as Mr. Darcy, waiting by the pianoforte.

Ted Bushman as Mr. Darcy, waiting by the pianoforte.

Col. Fitzwilliam and... other things.

Col. Fitzwilliam and… other things.

An admirer on Facebook: Logan, you were born to wear that outfit.  Logan Hayden replies: Awe shucks.

And at the end of a 12-hour day…

Logan Hayden: Prayers ascended, answers descended and now it has ended. For today at least.

All Melissa Leilani Larson wants to know is….

Pre- or post- tech rehearsal? @Denny's....

@ Denny’s: Pre- or post- tech rehearsal?

A Designer’s Mind

by Lyndi Sue Mecham, Costume Designer and Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

As so many of the design elements for a show need to work together in harmony, designers often collaborate with one another, sharing ideas, thoughts, and inspirations.  In the case of The Servant of Two Masters, one collaboration was between Costume Designer Lyndi Sue Mecham and BYU’s Hair and Make-up Supervisor Janell Turley.  Turley was creating the wigs for a few characters and came to Mecham to discuss how the wig could enhance the design of the costumes.  Here is a look at what inspirations and ideas Mecham shared in order to help Turley create the perfect wig for the character of Clarice. You can find the complete journey to Clarice’s costume (and other characters) in the program study guide.

Clarice: Ingénue in looks, period influence, but with modern edge

clarcostorigclarcost3clarcost2

These were the main pictures (and descriptive words) I kept from the “character icon” packet for Clarice. The first one is the traditional Clarice from Commedia shape. I liked the loud but soft hairpiece in the second, and I love the roll/curl/”hurricane”/swirl in Paris’ hair. It wouldn’t have to be that big and I definitely don’t want the slick look for everything else, but I love that swoop. Especially if it’s ombre.

clar2clar3clar4

These are images Stephanie sent in the beginning. Something that really helped me to understand the characters and where to take them was watching rehearsals and run-through. The dress from the front cover of strictly ballroom definitely played part in Clarice’s dress though, so that’s still there.

clarcost5clarwhiteclarcost4

These were the ideas that inspired the rest of Clarice. I did a mesh of everything and came up with two different renderings. The design progressed from my favorite (it actually goes left to right) when I found out what she needed to do in rehearsal. I loved the sparkle, but we decided the best mix would be the shape on the right, but that we could invert the layers to underneath instead of over the top. That tied in the “period” feel we wanted but let it still be modern. Making sense?

clarcostThis is the painting, titled “The Happy Accidents of the Swing,” painted sometime in the second half of the 18th century. In the movie “The Slipper and the Rose” this scene is almost replicated as far as the female character goes.

slipperThis film is the reason I have always wanted to be a costume designer. When Director Stephanie Breinholt told me that she wanted a mix of the periods in every character, I knew the inspiration for “period” in Clarice’s dress would come from this movie.

slipper2I love the tiny little, perfectly round spit curls on the side next to the beautiful swoop over the ear. I love the height, and I’m pretty sure there are little sparkly things in it because in the movie, the Fairy Godmother makes the wig out of a mop head and magical bubbles. It’s really cool.

clarmovieI also pulled some inspiration from early movie stars for the dress, though the sleeves are about the only thing that stayed. A different option to curls that lead into the chignon could be fingerwaves. I have no idea how well they hold up, but this is gorgeous, and reminds me of some of the rippled trims on her dress.

So that is a brief look into some of my inspirations. That was fun. Designing IS really fun.

 

In the Midst of Tech

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

Friday night, The Servant of Two Masters entered the newest phase of rehearsal: tech.  Technical Rehearsals (most commonly known as “tech”) is when we leave the classroom we’ve been rehearsing in and move on stage.  One by one, the technical elements of costume, make-up, lights, sound, and props are added, and every night we get a little closer to having the full show on stage.

For this show, the first order of business was spacing.  With the nature of the set, the cast needed time to see how blocking they’ve been practicing worked with the backdrop (with its door and shutters), the fountain, the ropes, and the entrances and exit.

Once the cast felt comfortable with the space, the second element added was props. While the cast had access to “rehearsal props” during the first few weeks (items that resemble or stand in place of the actual props), the transition from rehearsal props to real props can always be a little tricky. Some items don’t work the same way, or are a slightly different size or shape, and so the cast, director, stage manager and prop designer have to work together to make sure that everything is perfect.

Tonight we start to add two more elements: lights and costumes. Since lights and costumes can have a major effect on each other (just imagine what would happen if you had a beautiful red dress put under a dark green light), lights and costumes are being added together to make sure that both designers (as well as the director) are happy with the results.

With each night we are getting one step closer to the final look of the show!

And just to give you an idea, here’s a little sneak peak at one of our publicity photos…

servant pub

 

People or Projections?

by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg

“Devised theatre is a personal stretch for me. I didn’t choose my major because I love theatre, necessarily, but I do love the creativity that devising gives to the discipline. Building a play moment by moment is challenging and at times frustrating. The creative process for some people is very individual, but this type of creativity feeds on collaboration. I suppose that is the part I like best is the push towards creative collaboration.” -Chelsey Roberts, costume designer and performance writer

One of the main goals we had for Gone Missing and The Cleverest Thief, was to incorporate new media with the traditional in a new way. So obviously costumes can’t just be costumes right?

Chelsey Roberts, our costume designer, decided that a trendy but monochromatic palate would be the way to go for actors who would have to play multiple characters in both New York and Provo. Most of the changes with be accomplished by adding accessories and changing physicality and vocal quality.

Idea for costumes

An idea for what our ensemble might look like (just the girls that is)

Most of our costumes will be pulled (meaning taken from what the costume shop has stored), but there might be a few special pieces created just for our mediated moments.

The cool thing about white jackets or skirts is that they can easily transform into a ready-made projection screen.

Here are some examples of Chelsey’s inspiration…

Projection on people

Projected shawl

projected wedding dress

So if you see a white piece of clothing… chances are it could become something incredible. I’d keep my eye on it. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Behind-the-Scenes with the Phantom Costume Designers

by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg

The other day I visited the basement of the HFAC, known for its labyrinth-like feel and lack of sunlight (there are no windows). I navigated the halls until I arrived at the Costume Studio. I was curious as to what was going on in terms of costume making for Phantom. There are three design teams working on the costumes for our production.

One team is working on the costumes found in the three operas within the musical. The first opera is Hannibal. This is the scene where we return to the opera house and Carlotta is singing. During this practice the new opera owners enter: André and Fermin. The second opera scene is Il Muto. This opera is where the Phantom plays a prank on Carlotta and Joseph Buquet goes sky diving. The third opera within the musical is Don Juan, the Phantom’s own musical for Christine Daaé. Chelsea Roberts, a current BYU undergraduate, is the designer for this project.

            

A second crew is working on costumes designed by Janet Swenson, a recently retired faculty member, and Angela Robinson, a current BYU student. They have designed the “every day” costumes, or clothing worn by the characters when they aren’t “performing” in one of the three operas within the musical.

The third costume crew is building the quintessential masquerade scene. If you’ve seen the production before, or even the movie, you know the masquerade scene is full of lavish costumes. This team is headed by designer Deanne DeWitt, the Assistant Manager of the Costume Studio, and Desirée Moss, a current BYU undergraduate. These are really neat costumes. I’ll let you have a peak.

Carlotta-Masquerade

-Dancer

Donnette Perkins is in charge of the costume shop. Think of her like Morgan Freeman’s character in Batman. She oversees all aspects of the shop, including hiring talented students and being responsible for all products that end up leaving the costume shop. She is a very integral part of Phantom as the overseer of all three teams. What a job!

We hope you appreciate the work that goes into the costume makers of the production team for Phantom of the Opera. When you come to the show you will always see their work as each actor is on stage. You won’t be disappointed.

Design Insights-Holiday Costume Concept

by Mallory Mckey, Co-Costume Designer

In the early stages of my design work as I was finding images and researching—I was trying to think of some way each character was connected. I was also trying to find my color palette. I’m a visual person and I love seeing color and texture.  I was thinking about gold and silver a lot for some of the characters, and then I realized that was the connecting piece. Gold, silver, and money!  Once I hit on that idea, there was no stopping me.  I immediately started looking up pictures of money and specific bills and coins.  The more I looked, the more I could visualize the characters and who they were.  Everything was clicking into place in my head.

I read the script again with the idea of each person representing a specific type of money.  How they presented themselves, how they saw the world, and how they related with people all made sense.  Now it was my job to show that in the clothes.  From the money, I got my color palettes for people, and from my research started my designs.  It’s not completely obvious, and people might not even see it at all.  But, through my perspective, each piece, accessory, and style was designed with this in mind.

Below you will find images that inspired the design for the Seton household.


A Playwright’s Perspective: Tech Week

by Ariel Mitchell, playwright

Tech week. Each night it becomes more real.

Every layer we add to the production (set, costumes, lights, music) helps me to see the world more clearly.

I came into production photos last Wednesday and saw the costumes for the first time. The whole cast was in Afghani clothing. I was surprised. I don’t know why. I mean, it’s not like they were going to perform the play in street clothes! And I did set the piece in Afghanistan. I didn’t recognize any of the actors, but all it took was close to solidify them into the characters they had already become: Nasima, Yasir, Laila, Azadeh, Zeman, and Hoda.

Last night, I saw the lights and heard the music for the first time. I was in shock. I really don’t know why these things surprise me, but they make me SO excited. I have waited so long to see the piece realized and then all of a sudden, one flick of a switch and it is. The combination of the presentational, vibrantly colored lighting and the hauntingly beautiful music translated me immediately to the far away land of the Middle East.

I can’t believe it. We’re getting so close…