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November 10, 2018:

THE FIRST TECH REHEARSAL

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must write these here notes in a hurry because I am so tired that I’m tired tired.  I only got three hours of sleep and then had an eleven-hour day, so I am exhausted and must get some semblance of sleep before another long day.  But before I go any further, yesterday, believe it or not, haineshisway.com celebrated its seventeenth anniversary.  We began on November 9, 2001 and in all that time I have never missed a day of writing these here notes, which is either an incredible accomplishment or complete insanity or both.  This is, without fear of contradiction, the longest-running daily blog in the history of the Internet.

I was up at five-thirty, couldn’t sleep, so did a little polish and cutting of Doug Haverty’s synopsis of our show for the CD booklet.  I took a shower and then left at nine-thirty.  I arrived at the theater to find the light booth locked and no one with a key.  Our producer called Doug and he told us he had one at home – that took fifteen minutes of our day.  Then we began our paper tech, which proved frustrating until I finally got so irritated that I went to the booth to finish it, knowing I’d have no voice left if I tried to sit in the house.  Most theaters for tech put the lightboard in the audience for tech but that has never happened in this theater, so trying to communicate from the house to the booth means you have to scream to be heard and even then you’re not heard.  Once in the booth it went easier but frankly from the booth I couldn’t really tell anything.  I asked for lots of little adjustments, and we realized that two instruments were dead, so our designer won’t be able to swap them out until Monday, so one special is very dim and the center light, which provides a good deal of brightness, is out completely.  After she finished the corrections and the writing of the cues, she had to build the one major cue that she hadn’t done, so I moseyed on over to Tom’s for one of their yummilicious bacon cheeseburger, which I rank almost as good as Astro Burger. Alas, it was not only not as good as Astro Burger, it was terrible.  I ate it and some fries, but I probably won’t return.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d changed owners.

Then I came back to the theater and we ran all the cues again, this time with me sitting in the house.  Then I worked on the music cue levels and we got all those set – basic levels, where we’d push, where we’d back off and all that stuff.

Then the cast began arriving and we got them into costume (not fully done yet, but just to give us an idea of the colors, and to give them a chance to learn their quick changes, of which there are a few), and when everyone was ready, we began our first tech run-through.  It went reasonably well for a first time with lights and with sound still finding their way.  The lighting actually only missed a few cues, sound missed more than that – mostly just starting tracks early, not getting the sfx and stuff – but that all takes time as the mixer has to get used to the show and its sound and he’s operating at a severe disadvantage by being stuck in the light booth.  I have light and sound notes, the gal who replaced the other actress is pretty much off book and almost letter perfect, so that’s a relief and it’s so nice to hear the stuff as we actually wrote it.  The cast did fine, save for one of our leads who showed up sick as a dog with stomach flu – but she had to at least walk the show, which she did, wearing a mask.  Unfortunately for her, she works at a day care for kids – so, guess where she got it. She should not have gone anywere near a sick kid or a sick anyone else – I’ve tried to tell people this, just as I’ve tried to get them to take preventatives if they do get near a sick person. Hopefully it will be a quick thing, as she needs to be there today and we record tomorrow and there won’t be any pick-up sessions on this album.

I blocked the curtain call, which went very fast and looks great, ran a few things for positioning – we changed one thing so that it looks and plays better, and I’m trying to slightly reblock a few things so that people who have solos but no head mic are directly in front of the front mics or directly behind the hanging mics.  It’s just something you have to do in this situation.  Then I came home and had about four matzohs, some with butter and some with cream cheese – it hit the spot.

Today, I’ll be up early, then we begin our day at ten with a cue-to-cue – the sick actress doesn’t show up until eleven-thirty and Alexa will walk her track for the cue-to-cue.  This is both a lighting and music cue-to-cue, to make sure all the music cues begin correctly on the correct cue line and to make sure all the sfx are there (there really aren’t many), and the lighting part is just for me in case I need to reposition for better light.  I’m hoping we get through that in an hour.  Then we have a photo call at eleven-thirty that will last fifteen or twenty minutes, after which everyone will get read and we’ll do our run-through. Actually, at the note session last night I said we weren’t doing any more run-throughs – from now on we’re doing fun-throughs.  Everyone liked that.  I’ve told everyone they can mark the song vocals for the first fun-through.  Then we’ll have a one-hour meal break, and then do our full out performance-level fun-through.  I’d like to get everyone out by no later than four-thirty so they can have their evening to rest up for the recording session.

Tomorrow we record the vocals for our cast album, starting with the group stuff, and then doing the solos and one duet.  I’m hoping we can wrap by three but it may be four.  Then Monday is mercifully a day off.  Tuesday morning I call SAG/AFTRA and insist they get my replacement check done quickly and to me quickly.  Their behavior during this has been rather sickening in not just acknowledging the thing was not going to come.  What does it hurt them when they reissue a check?  And six days is plenty to wait.  Tuesday night is our final dress/tech and I’m hoping to have a small audience for it.  Wednesday is a preview, as is Thursday and then we have our opening night and opening weekend.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a cue-to-cue for music and lighting, have a photo call, do a fun-through, eat, and do a second fun-through, after which I shall relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: There are terrible fires going on west of here in Thousand Oaks that have spread everywhere, all the way to Malibu, with thousands of people being evacuated and zero containment. Have you ever had to be evacuated and how close did the fire get to you? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have survived our first tech rehearsal.

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