Friday, March 13, 2009

The sound of Tech.

Posted by Cliff Chamberlain.

If, someday,
I were to be asked to be a guest on
Inside the Actor’s Studio,
(not that I’ve thought about this at all)
And were asked the question,
“What is your favorite sound?”
I would respond with this:

“The sound of Tech.”

You know what I’m talking about, theater people.
(Do you know what I’m talking about, theater-goers?)

Tech is a quiet process.
Very zen.
It’s also very sleepy and tiring and long
And weird because you’re inside all day and you have no idea what time it is.

As for the specific sounds, here are my favorites:

The click-clack of cues being entered into the light board.
The whispers between the director and the designers in the back of the darkened house.
The conversations on headsets between the crew. (Usually you only hear one side of the conversation and a lot of the time you think they’re talking to you but they’re not and it’s totally bizarre.)
The shouts from offstage when set pieces fly in and out. Ah, safety.
The laughter amongst cast members backtsage when the “late-night tech delirium” kicks in. This laughter is usually prompted by something lame and ridiculous that under normal circumstances would not be very funny at all. Happens every tech.

And finally,
The sound of a lone cast member standing onstage quietly saying their lines to themselves.

And now I’m wondering,
What are some of your favorite theater sounds?

For the record,
I also love the sound of an audience through the monitor from backstage,
Right before the show starts.

Annnnnd now I’m late for my train.
(How much do you hate the sound of your train leaving the station as you run up to it?)


  1. The sound of a lone cast member standing onstage quietly saying their lines to themselves.

    Awww. I love that one.

    Can't wait to see the first performance tomorrow! Break a leg!

  2. Fantastic show last night. Annette O'Toole absolutely blew my mind. Well done!

  3. I really enjoy your posts. I look forward to reading one in response to your first audience.

  4. seriously,
    how good is annette o'toole?

    a post about the first audience?
    sounds like a great one.
    i'm on it.

  5. As someone who was in that first audience (in the front row, no less), that's a post I'd love to read! :D

  6. If you guys are interested in some early feedback, I wrote up a review of Saturday's performance for one of my theatre classes at Columbia. I'd have sent this to you in an attachment, but blogspot is not at all user-friendly that way. Hope this is beneficial to you in some way!

    Walking into Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, it is impossible to feel anything but overwhelmed. The lobby alone dwarfs most theatres in the general area. But once that nagging sensation passes, all that’s left is excitement and anticipation, because if there’s one thing Chicagoans have grown to expect from the Goodman besides the grandiosity of the lobby, it’s quality work.

    Magnolia, the latest to come out of the Goodman, continues this tradition with unadulterated success. This production, a world premiere by award-winning playwright Regina Taylor, is both dynamic and controversial, intimate and universal. The story centers on Atlanta, Georgia in 1963 on a small group of citizens and their connection to the Forrest Estate, formerly a plantation, which they each – black and white – were born on.

    Very admirably leading the cast is Oscar nominee Annette O’Toole as Lily, the free-spirited heiress of the Forrest Estate, who, after experiencing a profound personal tragedy, fled the country to Europe in order to escape the confines placed on rich Southern women. The much-adored and sought after Lily returns only in the event of her mother’s death, which leaves the estate in foreclosure, and shocks everyone, including her hopelessly embarrassed children, with her new habits – smoking, drinking bourbon, and many other discouraged behaviors. The Tony-nominated John Earl Jelks deftly plays Thomas, a now-successful businessman descended from slaves belonging to the Forrest Estate, with an unusual connection to the family. Old friends Lily and Thomas come together in an effort to save the crumbling estate, a partnership that culminates with a shocking revelation.

    Beautifully directed by August: Osage County’s Tony-winning Anna D. Shapiro, Magnolia is an absolute feat of the Chicago theatre scene. With powerhouse performances (a brilliantly boisterous, decidedly fierce O’Toole at the forefront) and some witty (Roxanne Reese brings the house down on a number of occasions), a phenomenal set, and subtle, intimate direction by Shapiro, this production – running through April 19th – is one that is not to be missed. All New Yorkers can do is hope that this gem lands on Broadway.