Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February 28-March 03: Rehearsals

On Saturday the 28th the only work we did was having a brief meeting with the stage crew about how many props we have for each gag, their placement, and the timing of setting and striking them.

We were supposed to have a two hour block of time to work with the stage crew and Luis, who runs our sound effects, but we couldn't bring our props because the backstage tent wasn't finished, and also the ring was not set up. Ring curbs were still being installed and leveled, and there was lighting equipment all over the place as the lights were set up.

On Sunday the 1st we got an hour of rehearsal time to practice sound effects with Luis, but we lost about 15 minutes of that time while we waited for the lighting crew to clear their equipment out of the ring.
We ran the carpenter gag twice, and the water gag once before we ran out of time.
Luis asked if we could continue, but we didn't want to postpone other people's rehearsal time, since we didn't like it when it happened to us. Also, Luis did a fantastic job, and we told him that we were completely confident in his ability.

Eddie introduced us to Israel, the West Unit's band director. The band just arrived that day, and they were still missing a sax player and a trombone player.
We asked if the band had received all the new, original music that had been composed for our acts, and we were surprised to find out they had not. They were only given the music that the band had played for us last year.
Luckily Ryan and I had foreseen such an event, and we had printed up copies of the new sheet music. I provided those and a CD of sample tracks to Israel, who left with the band to rehearse.

On Monday the 2nd we started off the day with some bad news. Israel told me that the band would not be ready to play all our music in time for opening night.
Ryan and I were very disappointed since we had paid a lot of money to have original music custom made for the gags, and we had sent all the charts and audio tracks where the office had told us to with plenty of time for the band to learn the music before the start of the season.

We also felt bad because now Luis would have to quickly learn all our music cues and run them in addition to our sound effects.
We made a CD for him, and I also printed up a cue sheet for him to study along with the videos of the gags he took last year.

The cast had an opening and finale rehearsal in the evening, but it didn't take long because the numbers are exactly the same as last year, except for the inclusion of a couple of new cast members.

Late in the evening Ryan and I finally had a good chunk of time with Luis to practice the gags with music and sound effects.
We still couldn't get our props into the tent, so we took only smaller, essential items to work with.

It only took us an hour to run our three gags a couple of times each. Luis did an amazing job hitting the sound effects and music cues, especially considering it was his first time for the latter.
The rehearsal really set our minds at ease for opening night on Friday.

On Tuesday the 3rd we had our first publicity of the season. It was a television interview in the early afternoon with Alexa and Jose Alberto Vazquez.
Before we filmed the segments our directions were to mess with whoever was being interviewed. That is a terribly dangerous thing to tell us.....

Jose Alberto was the first interviewee, and after we filmed the segment he told us to mess with him even more than we had. He told us that he loves clowns, and loves working with them.
We'll see if we can change that opinion; we love a challenge!

We were merciless with poor Alexa. While she was talking we were playing with her hair: getting our hands stuck in it, making mustaches for ourselves with it, only stopping short of cutting it off! (Which we're going to do for our next publicity with the help of one of Alexa's hair extensions)
The camera crew was cracking up the whole time we were on camera, so I can't wait to see the finished product.

After we finished filming our segments, we went up to front of house to talk through our lighting cues with Roberto.
It didn't take long since most of them are the same as last year.

At 3:00 p.m. we started running the show act by act to work out all the technical elements: setting and striking of props by the stage crew, music by Luis and the band, and lighting cues by Roberto.

Ryan and I were finally able to move all our props over to the backstage tent, and as each of ours acts came up, we would assemble the props as needed.

The whole run through took about seven hours, so we've got a little trimming to do to get the show down to its usual two hour run time.
Technical run throughs always take a long time, though. It was the first time this crew has worked with our cast, so there was a lot of starting and stopping to address and fix problems.

When we were finished for the night, around 11:00 p.m., there was the first barbecue of the season.
There was only a small crowd, but I liked the relaxed atmosphere.
It was a potluck gathering, so I brought some meat and beer for everyone. The food that people made was amazing; highlights were Dominik's cheesy garlic spread, and Jaros's guacamole.

Opening night is in three days!


Linda combs said...

Good Luck on your tour . Have a wicked awesome year. Love to all Mem Combs

Steve Copeland said...

Will do. Thank you!


Tejano said...

Steve, as you no doubt have heard, Ringling is going to discontinue the use of elephants at their circus. Do you think that Kelly Miller will follow Ringling Brothers?

Steve Copeland said...

I sure hope not, but I know activists have been targeting KM more and more over the past several years.