Backstage at PMA Theatre Guild's Damn Yankees
All performers are in a love-hate relationship with tech week. It's a great time to make last minute corrections, get used to performing on the stage, and bond with your cast mates, but it's also a hectic, time consuming, and stressful few days of your life. Here are some tips on how to get through your next tech week...
As soon as you get your schedule for tech week, take it off work. It's also in your best interest to get any other work done that you can before tech week. The last thing you need is to be on stage stressed out about the 10 page paper due the day after closing night. Make sure you know your call times and what you need for each day. Plan your transportation arrangements ahead of time. Pack a bag with hair/makeup/costume stuff so you don't have to run to CVS at the last minute (even though you will probably end up making a pit stop before the show anyways). The more prepared you are for tech week, the more focused you can be.
It's important to concentrate on your performance during this week. Arrive in plenty of time to warm up and get ready to go on stage. If there is a lot of chaos or drama going on backstage, bring some headphones or read a book to destress. It may also benefit you to put your phone on airplane mode and don't let outside drama or social media distract you. If you must get your social media fix for the day, try making some funny snapchats backstage or promoting your show online. AVOID DRAMA AT ALL COSTS! When you're involved in the performing arts, you learn how to deal with drama. There will be clashing personalities, lashing out, and a community of built up nerves for your upcoming performance. The best thing to do is to keep your opinions to yourself (don't comment on other people's work, unless you are the director and it is contructive criticism OR you have a positive or encouraging comment), do everything your director asks of you, and remove yourself from every dramatic situation you might fall into. Support your fellow cast members, because they are just as stressed out as you are.
The last thing your cast and crew needs is for you to be run down come opening night. Your immune system is weaker when you're stressed, so it is important to stay healthy during tech week. This means eating healthy and on a regular schedule, going right to bed when you get back from rehearsal, and taking medicine for any symptoms you may have.
You will get hungry during rehearsals, and will probably be willing to eat anything you find backstage. Try and pack plenty of healthy snacks for you to munch on while waiting to go on stage. The last thing you need is to be ordering a greasy pizza at 11pm because you're emaciated. On that note, make sure you are careful if eating in costume, and try to pack less messy snacks (ie fruit snacks and pretzels instead of Cheetos and Doritos).
Bond with Your Cast
While there can be a lot of tension and drama backstage, try and make some fun memories during tech week. Take some selfies, play some music, and encourage your cast mates during this stressful time. Some crazy stuff can happen during rehearsal, so learn to laugh and bond over these things instead of freaking out, talking crap, or getting yourself worked up over them. If you tend to be shy or are the new kid in the company, try bringing candy and snacks for everyone or packing things you may not need but someone else might, such as wipes, cotton balls, extra tights, or nailpolish remover. Being a helpful and kind person is a way to gain popularity backstage.
While working hard during tech week, remember what you are working for...opening night! Performances are one of my favorite parts of dance and theatre, and nothing beats the thrill of doing what I love in front of a sold out crowd. Focus on how much your hard work will pay off during this week, instead of getting frustrated with it all.
Some random, unexplainable one-liner tips from my own tech week experiences:
Let your family and friends know you will be MIA all week
Pack feminine products, no matter what time of the month it is (if applicable)
Wear fuzzy socks
If you have to wear falsh eyelashes, DO YOUR MAKEUP EARLY
Hairspray keeps ribbon tied together
Clear nailpolish stops tights from running/ripping any furthur
Pack an extra of EVERYTHING
Have gas in your car
Bring a phone charger
Hug your cast mates
Don't do anything you might get injured doing (ie jumping on a trampoline, ice skating, etc.)
Stay quiet in the wings
Help your cast mates with quick changes, and plan out your own if you have any
This week I split my time between two tech weeks, and with the help of my rehearsal assistant and directors, I managed to pull it off. Tech weeks are always stressful and time consuming, but it's only one week of your life leading up to an awesome performance. Things have a way of working themselves on stage, so stay calm, be prepared, and have fun during your next tech week.
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News & Events
9/18 Follow my new Instagram just for my dance things!
12/23 I was one of NDEO's Guest Bloggers this year! Read "Teaching is a Vocation. Not a Fallback" on their Behind the Curtain Blog!
9/27 I will be presenting my research at the National Dance Education Organization National Conference next week! See my research project by clicking the button below!
4/15 While working on PMA's production of The Addams Family, I got to combine my two favorite styles of dance (ballet and musical theatre) for "The Moon and Me"! Watch my talented students dance by clicking the button below!
2/20 I am choreographing PMA Theatre Guild's Production of The Addams Family! Come see these amazing high school students perform at Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen, MA April 13 & 14! Tickets available at the door.
2/20 I am stage managing BSU's Dance Kaleidoscope this year! Show dates are March 29-31 at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA. Come see this student choreography showcase!
11/5 I will once again be dancing in a BSUDC concert! Tickets to WinterDance are now available!
8/24 NDEO's National Honor Society for Dance Arts has published one of my articles in their newsletter! Read an updated version of "Audition Advice" here:
5/16 Interested in learning about movement concepts? Visit Becca's new Educational Dance website!
5/8 BSU Dance Company's Dance Kaleidoscope 2017 is now on Youtube! You can watch my performances by visiting the VIDEOS page!
4/23 I recently performed for the residents of Allerton House in Hingham, MA! You can watch part of my performance here!
Amesbury Children's Theatre presents...James and the Giant Peach Jr, featuring choreography by me! Click for tickets!
2/8 My piece "Barefoot" is now available to watch online! Click to watch!
2/5 Happy to say I have been cast in BSU Dance Company's Spring concert Dance Kaleidoscope! I will be dancing in 3 faculty choreographed pieces, including excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty in which I will be dancing the role of Lilac Fairy! Show dates are March 31-April 1 at Bridgewater State University.
Click the button for more info!
1/15 Ballet with Becca is now on Facebook! Click to visit the page, and be sure to like it while you're there!
1/14 I am happy to say I will be attending artEmotion's summer intensive in June! I will be dancing in the one week artEmotion Adult Program. If anyone would like to join or audition for any other artEmotion program, visit their website!