Tech rehearsals can be productive, or they can be a stressful nightmare. Here are five ways to keep things under control.
As the director, you are in charge, and it is up to you to keep things moving. That is stressful, but if you focus on the stress, you're going to bring it into tech with you. Stay calm. Pause and take a breath before making any decision. Take a moment to breathe when things start piling up. This is easier said than done, but if you can take a moment to be conscious of your breathing, you'll stay relaxed in the most stressful situations.
2. Be Prepared For Things To Go Wrong.
Because they are going to. That's what tech is for. Working out the kinks and getting everybody on the same page. Try to foresee problems and have a plan to fix them. There will, of course, be unexpected problems. Accept it and do what you can to prepare.
3. Trust Your Team.
I had a tech rehearsal yesterday, and it went surprisingly smoothly. I made it the day when everything had to be done. This meant set, lights, sound, and costumes were all being done at the same time. I put trust in my team to get their part done and check in with me occasionally. Everything got done, with relatively few issues, and we finished on time.
4. Have A Plan (But Be Flexible).
Knowing that I would be working on four things at once, I went into tech with a plan. I didn't make it very specific because I knew it would change based on how things went with each part. I decided on what my main focuses would be, planned to address the known problems first, then spent most of my time on set changes while making time to answer questions from sound, lights, and costumes. My goal was to not make anyone wait for me for more than a few minutes. By taking a few minutes away from set changes, I kept everyone else moving and showed every aspect of the show equal respect.
5. Have Fun.
Any stressful situation is handled better with laughter. Getting angry or stressed compounds the problem and spreads to those around you. Try to find the humor in any situation. Laugh at the absurdity of the problem (because it will be absurd) and get to work fixing it.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.