This is it, folks! A Streetcar Named Desire has its first public preview TONIGHT.
While everyone else settled in for a nice, comfortable Easter break, our intrepid artistic team spent the weekend hard at work in the Mullady Theatre.
So what exactly did they do that took them so long?
Designers Lee Keenan and Mikhail Fiksel, along with Master Electrician Clare Roche, sit in "Paper Tech"
Well, they made a show.
Tech rehearsals are the first time the actors and crew get to rehearse together. Stage crew learns when and where they need to be to make set or costume changes. Board operators learn how to make the lights and sound happen at the right times. Stage managers practice keeping track of every moving piece and calling technical cues like sound effects or light shifts.
And, to top it all off, the designers get to see their carefully crafted artistic ideas come to fruition while the director engages them in conversation and sees how the whole show comes together.
A typical tech process starts with “paper tech,” where the student stage manager (in this case, senior Courtney Cales) and faculty designers sit down with the script to talk over light and sound cues. A couple days later, they call in the crew for training. Student assistant stage managers (senior Tim Bertucci and sophomore MJ Jones) delegate their responsibilities and create a strong backstage team that keeps the show running. Once every one is ready, the cast comes in to start running through the show.
It’s always slow going. Each cue is practiced and rehearsed until the stage manager, crew members, designers, and director are happy with it. Typically, the ensemble spends ten hours in the theatre. Called a “ten out of twelve,” this meeting requires everybody to be work for twelve hours with two one-hour meal breaks.
The biggest challenge of a tech process is always nerves and patience. Actors and crew members alike must be ready to wait for long periods of time or to repeat a section dozens of times.
In the end, though, it’s all worth it. Once tech is finished, the actors hit the ground running with dress rehearsals. Fully in costume and character, they dedicate themselves to the world of the play with everything they have. It’s common for a cast to warm up together before a show, keeping their bodies and minds focused and ready for anything that happens.
Some of the Streetcar cast warming up before rehearsal
A Streetcar Named Desire is holding a preview performance TONIGHT at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at a reduced price, so stop by the box office at the Mullady Theatre and catch this American classic right here at Loyola!