Rehearsing in Jersey City is nice, but we came here to perform in New York, so this morning we rented a U-Haul van to drive our set into the city. Little did I know how much work moving a show into a theater would be.
Just getting the set into the van was a challenge. We awkwardly rolled the six filing cabinets from our designer’s garage down a terribly plowed road, and then took turns guarding them at the corner of the street. I got to ride shotgun in the van, which is always nice, but I was particularly excited because we were headed toward the Holland Tunnel. The rush hour traffic would normally be frustrating but I wanted to experience everything New York City has to offer, and the headache of sitting bumper-to-bumper was one of the thrills. It was very different to see so many cars going in the same direction in traffic. 460, I-81 and my other local roads only offer two to three lanes and here, we saw four or five. Also people here are a lot more aggressive when it comes to changing lanes and using their horns. In Blacksburg and Floyd you mostly hear “toot-toots and beep beeps,” happy hellos from a friend driving by, but in NYC it is all “HONK! HONK! HONK!” We also got to encounter New York’s finest (NYPD) during a checking point near the new World Trade Center. They were surprisingly very nice and even gave us directions when we got a bit lost on the way in. Once we finally made it through the tunnel and into the city we unloaded the set for tech rehearsal at the Kraine Theater.
After unpacking the set and setting it up, the cast and crew started to go through the entire play scene-by-scene. I learned a new theatre term today, “Spiking,” which means marking a small area on stage with “spike tape” to let the cast know where the prop or set pieces need to be. Once everything was set for each scene change, they began to go through the lighting of the show. They jumped around the play, only going through the key lines where lighting changes would occur. This was the first time I had been to a tech rehearsal and my first chance to actually see what our stage manager Jackie, production designer Dylan and the sound designer Matt actually do. I think they have just a big of a role as the director and the actors do. Tech rehearsal helped me realize how important everyone’s role is to making the production come together.
After the rehearsal it was time for some drinks in downtown NYC! We even got to meet some other Hokies that have moved to the city! I felt like a reporter asking them questions like, ”So you really like living in a place that is this big and gross and full of strangers?” Obviously my small-minded idea of the city needs to be enlightened a bit, but we still have almost two weeks here! Hopefully I will return to visit the people I met here.
I never thought that I would be a part of something like this. I used to think that theatre was easy, and putting on a play only involved remembering lines, but there really is so much more than that to it. It really is an art and very admirable. To anyone who has similar thoughts as to what exactly theatre is… I STRONGLY encourage you to go and experience it for yourself! Whether good or bad I guarantee you will be talking about the performance after you leave. I also think you will be more likely to attend another show. I know I am.