by William Bolz, Advisory Company
Essentially, tech is when the magic of theater is created through hours and hours of exacting, repetitive, painstaking work.
As I write this, we are in the thick of a technical rehearsal for the play The Other Place. I'm sure many readers of this blog know this already, but tech is that wonderful time in the rehearsal of a production when the elements of scenery, lights, sound and costumes are brought together with the actors. I generally enjoy the tech process, as an actor. People care less about my acting abilities and more about how I reflect light. Or whether I can even find my light.
For a show like this, tech tends to take a long time. The play is written as a seamless piece, with scenes blending into each other instantaneously, moving through time and space with a thought. These transitions are mostly shown with a change of light, but that has to be coordinated with a cue line, and perhaps another character's entrance, maybe with a sound effect, so it quickly escalates into a sort of four-dimensional Rubik's cube. An actor with more than one costume can end up changing clothes an alarming number of times in one day, or one hour. One soon begins to appreciate the talismanic power of the phrase, "OK, let's reset and try that again."
When you see the show, you won't be watching the changes, of course, no matter how complicated. You may not even really see them happen at all. You'll be caught up in the story. That is what makes the work and repetition of tech work worthwhile, and ultimately satisfying. In the case of The Other Place, all these technical elements combine with the acting and directing to create a very beautiful, intensely moving piece of theater, of which I am proud to be a part. I hope you'll enjoy it, too.