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?

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

 

A Run for the Designers

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

For The Servant of Two Masters, the first two weeks back in school have been focused creating the foundation of the show.  Lines have been memorized, characters have started to develop, the overall blocking (movement of the actors) has been set, and the beginning ideas for all the lazzi moments in the show have begun to sprout.  So much creation has been done, that the next step was to do a Designer Run.

A Designer Run is the first moment that the cast performs the show all the way through for the designers.  While still very much in the beginning stages, it gives the designer’s the opportunity to see the world that is being created and to make sure that the ideas that they are developing in their individual shops are still working.  This past weekend, the set, lighting, costume, sound and prop designers all joined with the cast, the director, the assistant directors, the stage manager and myself to watch the cast put the whole show together for the very first time.

It was a good time.

Here were some of my favorite moments:

Our first intro to the characters

Our first intro to the characters

Our lovers are introduced

Our lovers are introduced

Rivalry? Or alliance?

Rivalry? Or alliance?

The servant girls come out to play

The servant girls come out to play

Chaos starts to ensue

Chaos starts to ensue

Things start to heat up

Things start to heat up

And we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what this show is to become!

The Power of Spectacle in BYU’s Phantom

by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg

As The Phantom of the Opera continues to show strong at BYU I began to reflect a little on the power of the spectacle, due in part to my love for works by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other musicals by Webber, besides The Phantom of the Opera, are also very popular: Jesus Christ, Superstar; Cats; Starlight Express; Love Never Dies (the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and Evita. As the pictures show, there is a lot of eye candy in each of these shows, whether through costumes, musical numbers, scenery, lighting, or even directorial choices. Wherever a Webber musical arises, there are sure to be “wow” moments that send the audience on a roller coaster of fun.

Starlight Express's rollerskating set

Starlight Express’s rollerskating set

 

Love Never Die's Coney Island Spectacle

Love Never Die’s Coney Island Spectacle

 

Cats-the costumes are absolutely incredible

Cats-the costumes are absolutely incredible

Now let’s return to BYU’s production of The Phantom of the Opera and take a closer look at what Tim Threlfall’s directorial decisions are to make this show a spectacle like the one on Broadway. Let’s begin at the beginning. We have combined both the orchestra and sound bytes to help portray the show in a manner that envelopes the audience. This isn’t like Oklahoma, where all the music comes from the microphones and orchestra pit. This show has pre-recorded music, such as frog croaks and Phantom voices. Also, Doug, our student sound designer, has the voices moving across the speakers, so it appears the Phantom is moving as well. This is all to create a more spectacular experience as you view the show.

Also, when the Phantom decides to rain on the Masquerade parade, he enters with a very menacing costume. I was very tempted to add this to my display outside of the DeJong Concert Hall, but I want this costume to be a moment of surprise for those who will attend, and hopefully it was for those who already attended. Deanne DeWitt did an amazing job constructing this costume.

What would this production be without fog and a boat? Well, pretty much nothing according to our standards. So, we have fog and a boat. This is a remote controlled car that navigates among the fog during the iconic Phantom song. Once parked on the side of the stage, it is very easy to take it off stage left. To see an up-close picture of this sequence, go to the HFAC display on the south stairwell.

Our director had some issues to clear up before we could fully present this musical. For instance, how do we make the Phantom disappear during the scenes where he is supposed to drop through a trap door? The answer comes twofold: fog and flying. First, we have used a lot of fog to help eradicate the audience’s view of the Phantom. This also serves as a neat effect that fills the stage with an ominous feeling of obscurity. The flying is a neat addition that helps the Phantom appear as a master magician, as Madame Giry informs us. Many hours of practice have passed so all those who are hung/flown in the musical would do so in a safe manner.

These are only a few ways in which this musical has kept its spectacle at BYU. For those who have already seen this musical at BYU, why don’t you let everyone else know your favorite parts that really stood out to you as a spectacle within the show. This could be costumes, dance routines, lighting, sound, etc. Be careful of spoilers though!

End of Phantom Tech Week

by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg

The time has come for the actors to rest before opening night. They have gone through an arduous week of tech rehearsals. However, even before the actors began to go live on stage, the production crew gathered together for what is called “paper tech” rehearsal. Paper tech is a rehearsal where the stage manager, lighting designer, stage designer, sound designer, costume designers, and just about every person involved in the technical aspect of the show, gather together and make sure all their notes coincide. Since I wasn’t part of the technical crew I went to see first-hand what goes on in these meetings. While incredibly dry and routine, this is an essential aspect so when everyone arrives in the theater, they are all on the same page. With only a week to rehearse with the technical elements, we needed every minute we could get.

Long nights ensued as the actors, make-up artists, costume designers, stage hands, etc. began to form many entities into a finely tuned instrument. We stopped on many occasions to fix errors and perfect the show. I attended various rehearsals, and I am blown away by all the talent found in this show.

This week we end tech week and begin to open the show. We have prepared for our guests. We have sold out performances. However, rush tickets are still available to students only. Here are a few pictures I snapped during tech week. It’s another sneak-peak into the Phantom of the Opera we have created here at BYU.

Preparing Vocally

Preparing Vocally

Preparing Wigs and Make-up

Preparing Wigs and Make-up

Preparing the Stage and Visual Cues

Preparing the Stage and Visual Cues

Preparing the Lights

Preparing the Lights

Super excited for opening week!