Take the Hell Out of Hell Week

Posted October 23, 2018

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By Jerald Raymond Pierce for American Theatre Magazine | October 23, 2018

“Hell week” doesn’t actually have to be hell. Sure, it can mean long hours in the theatre, with first tech runs that can make even the most confident practitioners question if it will all come together. But it still doesn’t need to be awful. What’s the key to a more humane tech? It can be as simple as remembering that everyone involved is human.

Some theatres adjust tech schedules to try to ensure that everyone has some time off to rest and recuperate. At American Players Theatre, that translates to production manager Michael Broh not asking shop heads to be at previews for shows, knowing he’ll be able to effectively pass on notes. Some shops also stagger work time, so that even though the prop shop, for instance, is still operating seven days per week, each member of the shop is able to get a day off, knowing the productions still have someone around to help if needed.

“The thing I want to see in the world is the production staff treated like reasonable people who want to live reasonable lives,” Broh said. “Tech always pushes that envelope, and that’s as expected and okay, but we can’t let that become the norm. Finding ways to make theatre compatible with quality of life is just so important.”

Read the full article here.