So for all of you who work in theater, you know what a joy tech can be. For everyone else, that was totally sarcastic. It is long and painful, but like anything where a group of people spend hours upon hours together, there are always moments of hilarity.
Tech is a necessary part of a show, when it moves into the theater for the first time and the design team, cast, and crew spend multiple 10-hour days designing and rehearsing all of the technical aspects. Tech is the bridge between a disjointed show of separated elements to a unified production, and we should all love tech for the enchantment it creates. But honestly, tech is my least favorite part of putting up a show.
All of a sudden, everything that you were used to in a rehearsal space is different and new. It would all be extremely exciting if it wasn't such a slow process. The show is slowly dissected and put back together piece by piece with its lights, sound, set, costumes, etc. There is a lot of "hurry up and wait," starts and stops; the creative team is focused on their element, the crew standing by at all times, and performers are asked to go from 0-60 at any given moment. This is rough for any performer, but at least a large cast has breaks: scenes they aren't in and times when they are off stage.
Not so for this show.
For Clay's tech, Matt was required to be on stage. At all times. For 10 hours a day. For the most part we would be running sections of the show, but often we would be stopped in one place, getting the extensive and magical lights (brilliantly designed by Jason Lyons) just right. Which meant that Matt would be just standing on stage, waiting, as lights were focused on him.
While painful for him, this lead to endless amusement for everyone else. Because Matt was not really alone. Luckily for all of us, he was with Meghan Raham's incredible set, which includes a massive book wall, composed of over 3,000 books. Every now and then, when Matt needed to be by the book wall, he would entertain us (and himself) by reading out titles of the books. Like a zen mantra he would declare a 'book of the day.' My favorite was the suspiciously titled The Kitchen is God's Wife, which in retrospect must have been a misread of Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife. Now when I see the impressive book wall, not only do I love it for its aesthetic pleasure, but also for the entertainment it provided during the long, long hours of tech.
Zoë Chapin is the Assistant Stage Manager for Clay.