Institution of Affiliation
The Stage Management Handbook
Chapter 8 Outline – Technical and Dress Rehearsals
Moving into the theater – Before any technical rehearsal, consult with the appropriate production stuff to establish the organization of the backstage space. The placement of equipment determines the onstage and offstage placement of properties, furniture, and set pieces. The Backstage equipment must be specified and put in place to ensure the efficient operation of the show during technical rehearsals and performance.
Storage of furniture and set pieces – It is good to ensure storage that allows no obstruction to entrances and exits in setting the stage. Establish crossovers around the set and ensure that they are clear of impediments.
Property tables – Should be located offstage as needed and ideally in locations that stimulate their positions in the rehearsal room. They should be covered with kraft or butcher paper and labeled for each item to be stored.
Flashlights – Flashlights are used as signaling devices and also in the production of light.
Communication – Communication needs vary from production to production, but the equipment is generally the same and thus should be installed and checked out prior to technical rehearsals. The basics of the audio communication system include the stage monitor, intercom, page system, and house address system.
Performance Checklist – Organization is the key to the managing of stage performance, which is potentially chaotic and overwhelming. It helps in breaking the list into components of the production and then within each area focus on the individual items that should be inspected, tested, or need to be put in place.
The set – Should be inspected thoroughly to ensure that it is in the proper position and secure.
Masking – Must be positioned correctly to ensure non-interference with the actors, scene shifts, lights, and sounds. Ensure the masking is dressed neatly, positioned at the proper trim height, covers sightlines and is in safe operational condition.
Props and furniture – Inspection should ensure proper positioning, good repair, and operational, and also whether it looks the way it is supposed to look like.
Costumes and makeups – A complete list of costumes, accessories, and makeup items for each actor should be posted in the dressing rooms.
Lights – The lighting design in the production requires the intimate participation of the stage most for most of its execution.
Sound – The checklist should include a test of every speaker, microphone, and playback device that are used for the production.
Special effects – Checklist should include the special effects entries with the appropriate department.
Emergency equipment – First aid kits, fire extinguishers, and other emergency equipment should be inspected on a regular basis and should be positioned in their designed locations, well-stocked, and clearly labelled for proper use.
Dressing rooms and support facilities – Make sure that dressing rooms and lavatories have been cleaned and stocked with adequate supplies, also take note of any burned-out lights and any mechanical or plumbing problems that requires reporting.
Front of house and facilities – The various items to check include an audience seating area, auditorium lighting, aisles, and aisle lights, emergency exits and the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to ensure that everything is in order.
The actors’ arrival – Before the initial rehearsal on stage theater, the actors need to be toured of the space and a rundown on how the place works. Dressing room assignments should be posted on the company’s call-board in advance of the actors’ arrival.
Running the rehearsal – Before running the show, ensure everything is in order with all the technical elements being in their respective places.
The calls – Allow enough time for the crew to prepare for the rehearsals adequately to prevent waiting. Ensure that all equipment problems are solved prior to the rehearsals and ensure that the actors are given a half-hour call.
The run-through – Work hard to ensure keeping attention to everyone as well as the rehearsal on track. Posting a running order that includes a list of the scenes of the play in playing order and a very brief description of the scene will help in ensuring a smooth run-through.