A Christmas Carol Tech Week 2018

Lines are learned, costumes have been fitted, dances choreographed and music has been taught. We are ready for the next phase in our rehearsal process. It’s time for tech week! Nearly 20 people work behind the scenes to ensure our final product is top notch. This week is our first opportunity to gather the entire cast, crew, designers and creatives together to concentrate on the technical aspects of our show as we take our first steps on the stage. 

As an actor, tech week involves a lot of waiting on or offstage. However, for the stage management team, tech week involves an epic coordination of the needs of the production, the goals of the designers, the availability of the crew, the cast’s performance and time! And for a production the size of A Christmas Carol at The Hanover Theatre, it is imperative to have back to back “10 out of 12s,” a 10 hour rehearsal day with a two hour dinner break. This may sound like a lot of “time” to fine-tune the technical aspects of our show, but even I am only beginning to appreciate just how much work there is to be done. In fact, our team of flymen will likely have just four opportunities to “fly” Jacob Marley in his harness prior to opening night!

Before rehearsals got too busy this year, I scored interviews with a few people who facilitate some of the magic making for our show and play key roles in tech week. Check them out below.

Meet Melissa Daroff

What is your role in ACC at The Hanover Theatre?

I am the assistant stage manager, which in this production means I coordinate backstage, helping the actors and crew to move scenery, track props and make their entrances and exits onstage. I’m responsible for helping to keep the ship running smoothly.

How long have you been with this production?

This is my sixth year.

What is your goal during tech week?

Stay calm and keep organized. These are always a stage manager’s goals, but tech is a hectic period in the production process and it’s extra important to rein in the chaos.

Do you get to see any of the show?

Though I hear every moment of the show, I don’t get to see very many moments on stage since I’m usually behind a piece of scenery or in the wings busy handing off props or coordinating backstage traffic. I always make sure to get a glimpse of “Wassail” (the dance during the Fezziwig’s warehouse scene). But more importantly, I get to see the magic backstage, from actors zipping from one side of stage to another, to dressers carrying laundry baskets through the wings or fly operators pulling the ropes that move the pieces of scenery that fly above the actors’ heads.

Meet Mark Apholt

What is your role with A Christmas Carol at The Hanover Theatre?

Head carpenter and lead flyman.

What are some of your main responsibilities?

I coordinate show moves in between set lighting and sound.

How long have you been with this production?

Since the beginning!

What is your goal during tech week?

Making sure Marley has a safe flight.

Do you get to see any of the show?

No. Just from the monitors backstage.

Meet Brenda Shepard

What is your role with A Christmas Carol at The Hanover Theatre?

I am the head electrician and light board operator.

What are some of your favorite responsibilities with this show?

I engineer and direct the lighting hang of the production in accordance with the light plot set forth by the lighting designer.  I also keep the show running smoothly in terms of lighting and FX after the LD finishes programming. In other words, I maintain the lighting designer’s work. 

I absolutely love to figure out the math to make the show work in our space in terms of data and power distribution. I also enjoy working with our crew to get this rig up. Simply put, they rock. It takes a team to build it, and coordination is key. Heart and soul play a little bit in there too!

How long have you been with this production?

This is my 11th year with A Christmas Carol! And I still think our production is the best there is.

What is your goal during tech week?

Stay healthy and on task. The show is up and working, and we are in the final stretch. I’m feeling good about where we are right now, but need to keep the momentum going to get safely to opening night.

Do you get to see any of the show?

I am lucky I get to see the whole show from the front as that is where the lighting console (an ETC GIO @5) is positioned.  


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