Why I Secretly Love Tech Week

Stefanie Townsend

  • OnStage Wyoming Columnist

Hell week. Tech week. To so many, the two phrases are synonyms.

But not to me.

Having experienced my fair share of tech weeks as both an actor and tech member, I can safely admit I love tech week. After all, it’s the team’s last hurrah before sharing our efforts with the world. It’s the time everything comes together. It’s the time we share our work with each other as a team, everyone from lighting, performing, and costumes.

It’s time for us to fine tune, to share the fruits of our labor, to surprise each other, and, to a certain extent, bond.

Of course, tech week is not without its stresses. There are a lot of responsibilities that need to be dealt with or learned. Props to look out for, scene changes that must be done swiftly and beautifully, quick changes to assist. Someone will inevitably fall ill. But in those stressful moments, flow and routine can be found. Flow and routine that everyone had worked hard to achieve for weeks, if not months. If not years.

Throughout the havoc, there is beauty.

The show I am working on as I write this closes at the end of April. I’ve been the assistant stage manager for weeks. For months. Show week is always such a fun time, but there’s something about tech week that is special to me. Charming. Emotional.

I’ve been meeting with these people every week if not every day. Hearing their ideas, their processes. Seeing designs on paper. Watching it come to life piece by piece. Prop by prop. Line by line, song by song. Just like with every other production I have been in, I’ve witnessed it grow and come to life. It is the child the village has raised.

Performance week is full of surprises. With live theatre, anything can happen. It can be amazing, or it can be embarrassing. But tech week always leaves me in awe. I feel like a small child dumbfounded by the world it is experiencing. Every choice of the lighting designer, every sound cue, every costume, set piece and sound cue fills me with emotion. I am honored to be one of the first people to witness the finished product. I am proud of what they have accomplished, especially after hearing initial ideas at production meetings. As an actor, all I can feel is overwhelming gratitude for all the work the technical team has done to help create a beautiful show. And I am grateful that I helped bring their ideas to life and let them live in this story with my character.

The show is for everyone. The performers, the technicians, the audience. Everyone gets to enjoy the outcome of days and days and days of rehearsing and building and planning.

But tech week? Tech week is for us.