Yes, I Did Back-to-Back Techs Weeks and Survived

Jennifer Butler

When involved in theatrer, you're bound to have some "firsts": First time working with a new group or new people, first time in a new production role, or in a new location. Recently I had three out of the four firsts with working on just one show and then some.

A year ago I was booked to work on a show that would run this November and then in the middle of October (one month ago) I was asked to jump into and help with another show that ran the weekend prior to the show I was already scheduled to do. So, I know you all are now thinking the same thing that I thought back in October: back to back tech weeks! That was something that I had never done before and was initially not sure that I wanted to put myself through, but at the same time I knew that I was being asked to help out with both these shows because not only was I good at props but both the directors and the producers needed someone that they trusted. That someone was me.

Part of the reason that I managed to pull off back to back tech weeks were that the two shows were very different pieces of theater. One was a contemporary musical and one was a period play. Another factor was that with the play I knew the theater and the people involved, the musical however was a different story. I knew the director and a handful of other people but the cast members were all strangers and it was in a brand new location.

I did take into careful consideration what I was getting myself into and what these two tech weeks might be like. Looking over the props list, I figured out what I could do in advance and what would have to wait until tech week. Luckily with the show that I had booked last year I had a lot of lead way and I was in good shape by the time the offer came in for the last minute show. And an added bonus was that the show that I jumped into last minute was a contemporary musical so the missing props were not too difficult to locate.

Now none of these tech weeks were easy, that I will admit. But are tech weeks ever meant to be easy? Most of the time not. You can only do so much in advance and there are things that you just can’t figure out until you get into the performance space, which was one of the few similarities between the two shows. Neither show could load into the performance space until the week prior to opening.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I don’t regret the back to back tech weeks at all. Yes I so miss the sleep that I lost but that won’t change a thing because whether it’s your first tech week or you’re a pro, you don’t sleep during tech week anyways.