A Music Director's Epic Tale: Les Miserables

Chapter 7 : Rehearsals

7.6 - Tech Week

One of the many challenges of using the auditorium space the theater rents is that it is shared space. As mentioned previously, the building is a church and is not only used by the church, but by other groups, such as the pre-school. This means that all the props, costumes, and sound equipment that the theater owns must sit up on the stage during the week, out of the way of the other groups. Rehearsals are held on the floor of the auditorium (it has removeable seats). This means that it's not until tech week when the actors actually get to work on stage with all the scenery and spacing exactly as it will be for the show (it's just too time consuming to remove all the gear from the stage any sooner in the rehearsal process).

The first night of tech rehearsals was a bit dicey. The kids were up on the stage with all the costumes and lighting, plus the full band and tracks, and that can be rather overwhelming -- basically, you know your backs are up against the wall timewise and you have only a limited amount of time to polish it all. So that first rehearsal was ok, but most of the performers did not live up to their potential. However, at each subsequent tech rehearsal, we could see and hear things come together.

The very last tech rehearsal, the night before the show opened, was excellent. Some of those who are superstitious in the theater community will say the last tech rehearsal will be opposite of how the show will open (therefore, we should have been in for a rough opening night). But with "Les Mis", you need to have good tech rehearsals, and you need to have good shows! I was pleasantly suprised at the ease with which the actors sang and performed in that final tech rehearsal. The transformation from the beginning of tech week to the end was remarkable.