Yesterday was what we in the theatre biz call Tech Sunday. This day marks the first day that the show is run in its entirety complete with lights, sounds, music, and special effects. It also marks the start of the home stretch before opening night on Friday.
Tech Sunday is the most grueling day in the entire rehearsal process due to its length and constant stopping and starting. A typical Tech Sunday rehearsal usually lasts 8 or 9 hours depending on the technical requirements of the production. Once, I took part in a production in which Tech Sunday lasted a mind numbing 12 hours due to the massive number of light and sound cues involved. And we did not get through the entire show! As you can see, Tech Sunday truly tests the fortitude of every single member of the cast and crew.
Most Tech Sundays begin with what is known as a cue to cue rehearsal. This period is meant for the technical crew as the cast only hits the points of a show where a light or sound cue is utilized. The cues are usually run several times as lights and sound are fine tuned and experimented with until the techs and director get a satisfactory result. Fortunately, Twelve Angry Men is not a tech heavy show, so we managed to finish rather quickly and use the extra time to fine tune and fix various scenes.
After 4 ½ hours, we broke for a potluck supper. It’s an enjoyable time where the cast and crew get to do some bonding and simply unwind for a little while. Over dinner we got into a discussion about Henry Fonda and which of his classic films were going to be shown at Film Streams. The talk eventually turned to Mister Roberts and Jack Lemmon’s performance as Ensign Pulver. Some of the actors thought Lemmon had won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I thought he was nominated as I believed his only Oscar win was for Best Actor in Save the Tiger. Well, here in print, I admit I was wrong. Jack Lemmon did indeed win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Mister Roberts.
After a 2 hour break, we were ready to begin a full rehearsal--and it went extremely well. There were parts of the show that really sang and parts that were a touch off key. And the parts that were off key were worked on after the run to get them in tune. The run was even more impressive when you consider how tired and frazzled all of us were at that point. After so many hours of rehearsal, our minds were sore, our bodies worn out, and our nerves on edge. The tendency to forget a line or miss a cue increases after such a long day and the frustration tends to show when those mistakes are made. But, as the team we are, we pulled through it and we have a good thing going.
Twelve Angry Men opens on Friday and the final chapter of this series of chronicles will be posted soon after so you can learn what opening night is like from the other side of the stage.