It’s past 11 p.m. on Monday, and I’ve just returned home from our second day of technical rehearsals, that time in a show’s life when the actors and all the technical elements of the show are finally married. And like a lot of marriages, it isn’t always smooth-sailing at the beginning.
So far, we have been focusing lights and finding our marks on the floor in relation to the lights, and because they’re incredibly precise and specific, we have to be, as well. An approximation of things is not acceptable; we have to hit things exactly, or else the lighting design for a scene will make absolutely no sense.
And on tech days, there’s a lot of standing around waiting while things happen. No one is exempt from this, not even our kids. (Speaking of which, we would like to welcome 11-year-old Teddy Velasco to our “Fun Home” family. He will be playing Christian Bechdel at certain performances.)
Figuring out transitions can also be one of the toughest things during tech. It means plotting how the next scene’s elements will come in, and how the previous scene’s elements go out. For the safety of actors and the crew, traffic patterns need to be set exactly, to ensure that a coming bed or an exiting couch doesn’t mow anyone down.
There can be plenty of repetition if even just one element isn’t right, until everything happens smoothly. Oh yeah, a lot of these transitions take place in the dark. Thank heavens for glow-in-the-dark tape!
Since the tech period can be demanding on everyone’s patience (because it does entail loads of waiting around and going through things over and over again), the actors can use it as a break from getting too emotional during scenes.
Thankfully, director Bobby Garcia, with his signature wit and humor, keeps things very light as all elements are being tried and thought out, whether he’s lightly making fun of an actor, or singing out lines from show tunes and asking us to identify the musical from which it came.
It’s funny when he quotes a line from an older show, and asks the kids to try and figure it out. There’s no problem though when a quote from “Hamilton” is thrown out.
As is always the case, by the time we’re in front of an audience, everything comes together, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.
We have dressers with fast hands, stage crew in black, always ready to jump in and fix whatever needs to be taken care of, a musical director and musicians who have lived with this show and are prepared to play, a design team that has created a gorgeous playground for the performers to play in, and actors who know the musical’s story inside and out.
Tonight, our very first paying audience will be joining us. And we hope they will like what we’ve all put together.
However, whatever the reaction and response of the audiences who will come, my heart is grateful for the experience of “Fun Home.” This is no ordinary show, and this isn’t an ordinary story.
It is one of acceptance. Of relationships. Of family. Of understanding our parents and what they go through in life, whether or not in relation to us. Of having conversations that not too many people are brave enough to start. Of life, love and finding peace with the hand we were dealt, however crappy it might be.
Welcome to our house on Maple Avenue. Enjoy your visit.
“Fun Home” opens tonight at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City, and will run until Nov. 27. The show lasts for 100 minutes with no intermission. Call TicketWorld at 891-9999 or visit ticketworld.com.ph.
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