The "Adventures" of Tech Week

Jennifer Butler

Tech week is meant to bring everything together, from the light and sound cues to all the small details. Those details depending on who you ask are either considered adventures or headaches.

For me, it depends on the time of day you ask. If I am up at two in the morning after a 6-hour rehearsal because that’s the only free time I have, I would probably call it a headache. But if its tech Sunday and I can have cast members or others help me complete that task, it might be a fun little adventure in getting things done.

Usually, these tech week adventures are what need to be done in order to bring together the details for a show, details that may not be viewed or seen but those sitting in the back row but matter none the less. Some of my ‘adventures” I may not have considered adventures at the time but looking back on those weeks, they were some of the details that end up making the difference in the end.

One that comes to mind often occurred while I was working on a production of Ken Ludwig’s “The Games Afoot” or “Holmes for the Holidays”. The key word in that last sentence being the word Holiday. On Tech Sunday it was suggested by someone to add holly to the corsages that I had already made, which had been approved by the director. I was initially annoyed because I thought they were already crossed off the to-do list and I wanted to move on. But yet off I went to the craft store to pick up the holly to redo the corsages. And in the end, when I saw the photos and the show, I was glad I had re-done the corsages because that was one of those little details that brought everything together.

Some tech week adventures are re-doing things that were already done and that is the more frustrating aspect of things. When I do something to prepare and cross it off the list, then it doesn't work out, those adventures are the tough ones. But there are also those adventures that allow you to figure something out and feel a sense of accomplishment.

A main example of this would be the props that I made for the recent productions of “The Rocky Horror Show”, “The Mousetrap”, and “Enchanted April”. Figuring out how to make a hypodermic needle stay together, finding and printing era-appropriate labels for drink bottles and covering books so that they all look the same was a great adventure for me.

Whether things go well or not, every tech week is an adventure in itself and I can’t wait to see where my next adventure will take me.