As you know, I’m doing some theatre here in Brussels, as the lead in the English Comedy Club of Brussels production of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Last night was our tech rehearsal. For anyone not familiar with the world of theatre, before a play is performed, the pentultimate rehearsal is ‘the tech.’ Once the actors are well-rehearsed, and the set is in place and the technicians have the lights and sound prepared…once all these things are in place, they need to all work in concert, and so the tech rehearsal begins.

Tech can be a long and arduous process, and it is generally loathed by the actor, who functions as little more than a movable dummy, posing in place so the lights and sound can be tested. I guess it’s similar to modelling, but with more sound effects.

Yesterday’s tech rehearsal was a rare beast in the theatre world: it was relatively smooth and short- like a Romanian gymnast.

There’s not that many lighting or sound cues, so we were able to jump from cue to cue through the play fairly quickly. The highlight in fact was being rescued by some sound cues during the one part in the play that’s been giving me the most trouble .

At one point in the first act my character (Maniac) answers the phone in the police station and carries on a conversation with:

a) the person on the other end of the phone (imaginary)
b) another character on stage (also imaginary)
c) the audience (hopefully not imaginary)

The difficulty of this juggling act has not been helped by the lack of rehearsal of this conversation, in which crucial plot and character information is revealed. Until yesterday.

Without giving too much away, I’ve now got some sound to work with and improvise off of. And we actually rehearsed this part a couple times, so I feel better about it.

Once we’d gone through all the cues we did a full run of the show with tech. It’s very exhausting. By the end of the play I will be very tired. Unfortunately last night I got tired and out of sorts before the end of the play, and kinda hobbled through to the finish. Hopefully that will change. And it should. Part of the problem of rehearsing a play with lots of audience interaction without an audience is that the actors pour their energy out into a black hole of empty seats. Now that the show is selling out, those full seats should reciprocate with all the energy and we can all ride to the finish line together.

Tonights the dress rehearsal.