We know how tech week goes: your show is almost perfect, but you’re hoping to add that liiiittle extra bit of magic to it before the curtains go up on opening night. If you’re searching for small but meaningful ways to put your best artistic foot forward, On The Stage has you covered. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Perfect that Pesky Quick Change
A quick change, when done correctly, can truly excite and engage your audience. But it’s a risky move that often causes stress for everyone involved in the process. If your actor still hasn’t perfected the quick change, offer them this advice.
- Stay calm. Easier said than done when you’re rushing around backstage, we know, but keeping a calm and steady demeanor could mean the difference between an on-time and late re-entrance. Practice, practice, practice – this will ease anxiety.
- Don’t rush more than necessary. If you’re sprinting to your spot to get changed, then rushing through the change itself, mistakes are bound to happen. You could trip and hurt yourself, rip your costume, get tangled up in your mic wires, or put on the wrong items. Plan exactly the amount of time you need, and the pace will come naturally.
- Layer up, if possible. If your quick change is proving too difficult to pull off, consider putting elements of your second costume on under your first. This will give you back some precious time.
- Prepare your quick-change space well. Ensure the space you’ve chosen for your quick change is close to the stage, easily accessible, and has some form of suitable lighting. If you’re doing the change yourself, make sure your clothes and accessories are laid out in the order you need to put them on.
- Ask for help! Unless every other actor and crew member is occupied at that moment (unlikely), your team will be happy to help dress you. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all.
Incorporate New (But Uncomplicated) Tech, Lighting, and Sound Elements
Another way to add a bit of theatrical magic into your show is by incorporating new technology, plus light and sound, to amp things up.
- Consider purchasing a fog machine if thematically appropriate. Adding dynamic elements to your show will further engage your audience.
- Add a few snappy lighting cues to important scenes, or consider incorporating a spotlight on your lead during a dramatic scene. Lighting can often enhance the baseline feelings of a moment, and further inspire your actor.
- Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to add in a few more sound effects during peak scenes, or even incorporate music during transitions.
- Bring in engaging active props like fake fireplaces, breakaway vases, or even rain on stage if you have the time. This will elevate your show, guaranteed.
Spruce Up Your Set
After weeks and weeks of intense rehearsals, it might be likely that your set, props, and costumes could use a bit of TLC before opening day. While it’s a small change, making your set and costumes as fresh as possible will present a more elevated theatrical experience. Ideas include:
- Touching up the paint on the stage floor or on any props that are chipped
- Steam-cleaning your furniture and scrubbing tables/chairs for maximum shine
- Polishing shoes and pressing costumes to present a professional look
- Identifying and fixing any structural hazards or wonky walkways to avoid injury
- Safety prepping the stage with tape if actors are exiting or entering in darkness
Tighten Up Scene Changes
There’s nothing more boring to an engaged audience than a clunky, slow scene change. The last thing you want your audience to hear is silence, paired with the shuffling of feet and moving of furniture. If your scene changes are boring or awkward, you can tighten them up easily during your tech week.
The most basic scene change runs like this:
- The scene ends, and lights go out
- Working lights come up, the crew comes in
- Crew silently moves furniture and other set pieces
- Working lights go out
- Actors walk on in darkness
- Lights come up for the next scene
Sounds pretty boring, right? You can avoid that by incorporating the following elements before performance week:
- Adding relevant music or sound effects to the scene change to keep people engaged and to muffle the sound of furniture moving
- Dressing your crew in costume and having them be actors for the transitional period (ex. If you’re bringing a coffee shop off stage, dress those crew members in waiter’s outfits!)
- Taking note of the number of scene changes. Are there too many? Could the set be simplified to avoid another break in the narrative?
- Have your talented ensemble members “dance” items off-stage. This can be especially cool if you’re doing a musical! It doesn’t have to be anything too technical but can keep the audience in the world of your narrative.
Pro-Tip: If you and your crew have some free time while the cast gets their hair, make-up, and mics ready for the run-through, take the opportunity to rehearse all of your scene changes and explore ways to enhance the flow of the sequences. Just dedicating twenty minutes to practice, and listening to suggestions from the crew, can make a significant difference!
Keep Moderation in Mind…
We’re all about making tweaks to a show to help it go from good to great … but don’t go overboard! Choose a few avenues to go down, not all of them. This will likely confuse your cast and crew, adding undue stress and anxiety during an already hectic week.
Select a few areas you most want to perfect, and spend tech week on those. There’s no need for an entire overhaul of the production right before the big day. Trust your vision and run with it!
Enter On The Stage
It’s no secret that tech week can be (and often is!) stressful – for the actors, the crew, and the creative directors at the helm. If you’re looking for extra assistance before, during, and after showtime, On The Stage can help.
With On The Stage, you can discover an all-in-one technology platform built for the performing arts. OTS empowers thousands of organizations with ticketing, box office, marketing, fundraising, and reporting tools in one robust platform – for free.
Take the plunge; book a personalized demo today.