Laura Jeanne Portera
Tech week is a hectic, exhausting time for technicians, creatives and actors alike. The long hours and constant work create a ridiculously stressful environment. Every stagehand, spot-op, dresser, ensemble member, assistant, and so many others are expected to be on their A-game for 10 to 15+ hours of the day. Everyone has the same goal, yet tensions can get high when decisions aren’t made in the week time frame left before the production. So this begs the question: Why can’t tech week be two weeks long?
With stress levels at an all-time high, some details can easily be missed, especially when it comes to safety. No matter how hard of a worker a stagehand may be, something as simple as tying off a safety knot could be missed with a high-stress, no sleep environment. These are details that are crucial to the safety and health of every single person working on the production. The more comfortable we make the environment for the hard-working technicians during tech week, the safer and more comfortable the performance will be for everyone involved.
So why do we only leave a single week for critical detail work on a production? The production process of a show begins months before rehearsals are set in place. Can we find a way for companies to schedule a single extra week in the theater space to guarantee load in is as safe and precise as possible? Yes, there will be a slight delay in theater performances but isn’t it worth it for safety? With a second week, every department will have ample time to perfect their portion of the show.
These questions have been tossed around in the theater world for years. So why can’t tech week be two weeks long?