Four Hours to Paint Reality, Fantasy, and Whatever is In-Between
If you’ve been following Pepp Scotland and reading our blog posts for a while now, you’re aware that we have been working on The Abode for some time now. It is impossible to speak on behalf of the entire company, but for me, everything we’ve done has been building up to this moment. Before I, the Lighting Designer, get into what our experience was with the Fringe and our tech rehearsal, let me give you some context. A Technical Rehearsal, or “Tech” for short, is the time that everything a cast and director has been working on meets all the ideas that have been brewing in the minds of the Designers. Scenically, the set moves to the stage; in terms of Sound, all the noises that make up the world are added to the mix. Up until this point, a show has relied solely on the actors, but Tech is the point that a myriad of elements come together to create a, hopefully, noteworthy product. Large productions, like Broadway shows, can spend about two weeks in Tech; sometimes more. Full 9 to 5 days are spent in a dark theatre attempting to perfect each lighting, sound, rail, or automation cue so that everything works to tell the story without hindering it. This is the chance that all the designers have their chance to see their vision realized. As a designer myself, this is the point where I get to see if what I’ve been picturing in my head the last month is actually worth presenting to the world. It is quite an exciting time. Other than The Abode, my most recent time teching a show was when I sound designed Big Fish, the 2017/2018 Musical at Pepperdine University. I had three days to create the world from scratch and another couple dress rehearsals to tweak things. For The Abode, we had a total of four hours to get everything into the theatre and tech our entire show. Just to quickly summarize, I had about 4% of the time a Broadway show has and about 10% of the time a Pepperdine show has, to completely create all the worlds that The Abode occupies; assuming I had a full four hours of tech time. As part of our tech time, we needed to load all our scenic, sound, and lighting elements into the space and make sure they were all working properly. This took about half an hour off our time. Then, after taking into consideration time to pack everything up and get it all back into storage, I realized I had about three hours to build the show. With less than two minutes to build each cue, it was very obvious that we needed to spend our time wisely. Much to the thanks of a cast who was willing to listen to their designers and stage manager, we were able to move through the show by building sections of a couple scenes then running the built cues to make sure they worked. We even finished with a little bit of time to spare and got complimented that our tech process has been the smoothest and most productive tech process our venue had gone through so far. Thanks to a well prepared and adaptive company, our tech process went about as smoothly as anyone could have hoped. By the end of our four hours, we had a pretty well put together show. From the point of the Lighting Designer, I couldn’t have ask for a better prepared cast and crew to help make everything happen in a way that made my job relatively easy. After tech, as a company, we still had a lot of work to do. After going through our first few performances we got to see what worked for the audience and what didn’t, but for the most part, The Abode had been created. We only have a few performances left, but I know I will always be thankful for such a great cast and crew that made our tech “week” (really tech day) such an enjoyable and productive experience. Truly, lighting this show has been a great way to end my four years at Pepperdine. Thank you to everyone involved in making this piece of art come to life. It has been a pleasure to get to work with you and to get to light the story that is The Abode.