Greetings from Los Angeles! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but we’ve been working hard to get THE SOUND OF MUSIC up and running. After rehearsals in New York, and before opening night, a lot goes on behind the scenes to get the show ready for an audience. This period of time is dedicated to technical, or “tech” rehearsals, where we add costumes, lighting, sound, set, orchestra, and full crew to the show. This is a very time- consuming process because we want all of these elements to work together seamlessly so that the audience can forget reality while they watch the story unfold.
To make this happen, the lighting designer (legendary and unbelievable artist, Natasha Katz) illuminates the story and ‘writes’ the lighting cues in a computer program so they are synched up, and in the proper order for performances. We work out set moves, which are both automated (meaning they move mechanically on tracks), and manually moved and hoisted up and down on the ‘fly rail’ where they are stored when not being used in the scene. I’m still afraid to walk under the heavy set pieces when they’re hanging up above the stage and backstage areas! *Fun fact: Inspired by the ‘VonTraps,’ the carpentry crew on our show has dubbed themselves the ‘VonCarp Family.’ I thought that was pretty clever :) We also work out and practice quick costume changes with dressers and start working with our microphones so the sound designer can adjust levels to match actor’s volumes and track when everyone’s mic needs to be on/ off. The stage manager (bonafide Superman, BJ Foreman) keeps track of all of these elements, and is the person who ‘calls’ all of the cues during the show. This means he follows along with the script as we perform, and talks to members of each crew on headsets to signal when set moves, lighting, and sound changes should happen.
Preparing and synching these technical elements takes a lot of time. In order to accomplish this, we rehearse in blocks of time called “10 out of 12’s,” which means, in a period of twelve hours we rehearse for ten. In the last week, we rehearsed noon- eleven pm with a one hour and a half dinner break, and three ten minute breaks throughout the day (spaced every hour and a half). The schedule can be grueling, but it is so worth while when we begin to see the technical elements bringing the production to life, and elevating it to a level that can transport audiences to a different world.
For this show, we held our tech rehearsals in Boise, Idaho instead of New York or Los Angeles because we were able to use the facilities and crew members from Boise State University. There, they have a very large theater with extensive backstage space, and a built- in crew made up partially of students, which contributed to a lower operating cost for our production team while our hours were longer than normal.
Now that we are in Los Angeles, we only have a few more daytime rehearsals during our preview period (September 20- 30). Then we will be fully up and running for the year. There will be understudy rehearsals once a week as we move forward, and brush ups when members of the team come to visit - but more about that later… I’m ready for a nap!