Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tech Week: Day One

By Victoria Chatfield (Executive Director)

Tech week.

My entire crew insists that tech week is the best part of the production process. Bless them. Tech week makes me shudder with absolute terror. Nine million things are GUARANTEED to go wrong during tech week. Even if you think you've planned for every worst case scenario, believe me, you haven't. This time around, I created a million different contingency plans. We ordered copies of our costumes in case there are any unfortunate dying incidents. (You never know when the Rit Dye will dissolve the fabric. Not really but WORST CASE SCENARIO.) We checked and double-checked that the rep plot would be hung upon our arrival. (Visions of a stage littered with hundreds of unhung lights haunted my nightmares for weeks.) We bought FOUR GIGANTIC BAGS OF CANDY in case everything fell apart. Because the solution to every desperate problem is and always will be chocolate.

(Chocolate. It's what's for dinner.)

But despite all of my contingency plans, the thing that made the biggest difference was that I have an entire team of phenomenal designers and technicians working with me. There's Ben Spinale and Neil Stoelting, our technical directors (the ones who convinced me to hire both of them and not for a single second have I regretted that decision), who managed to turn a pile of rehearsal blocks into a cardboard-coated storage facility. There's Justin Tolbert who crafted a set that makes Atlantic Stage 2 look GIGANTIC. (I've seen a few different shows in this space now and they always make the space look like someone's closet. This set makes me feel overwhelmed by its vastness.) There's Carmel Bendit-Shtull and Daria Berstell, our fearless stage managers, who pitched in wherever they were needed. They taped boxes, they stacked boxes, they focused conversations, and they did it all with a smile. There's Anneliese Ryan, our lighting designer and her fantastic electrics crew, who are (even as I type this blog entry) scampering around on a wire grid high above the ground, focusing and shuttering lights. There's Morgan McDaniel, our sound designer, who's spent the entire day up in the booth (that can only be accessed by ladder through a hole in the floor, by the way) mixing sound and music. And then there's Lio Sigerson and Benjamin Viertel, our directors, who thought that they might get to take it easy today -- but never hesitated for a moment when they were called on to jump into the action. (They even stood up their mothers to help out with tech week. Sorry, moms!)

I've seen incredible problem-solving skills, fantastic leadership and organization, and unparalleled grit and tenacity. While tech week might be every producer's worst nightmare, I've never been more honored to have the opportunity to work with this incredible group of young artists. I cannot wait for opening night (which is completely sold out)! Book your tickets for our Saturday matinee (2 PM) and evening (8 PM) performances by emailing tickets@nationalstudenttheatre.org.

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