TECH WEEK STARTS. WRITER AVOIDS WORK.

Today was the first day of Tech Week.

For the uninitiated, “Tech Week” is the week when the rehearsals move out of the rehearsal room and onto the actual stage (though we’ve actually been on the actual stage for the entire rehearsal period so ignore that sentence) and the focus goes from the words and music to the technical aspects of the show. All the designers have to show up for Tech Week (ha! ha!) in order to get the lighting looking awesome and the costumes looking attractive and the set looking impressive. And how did Day One of Tech go?

I have absolutely no idea.

You see, I didn’t actually show up. And it’s not because I’m lazy (though, technically, I am lazy,) it’s because I warmly refer to Tech Week as Writer’s Hell Week. Why such an aggressive term, you ask? Well, I answer, because not one damn moment of Tech Week is devoted to the text of the show. No, it’s all about making sure the lighting looks spectacular and the costumes fit and the actors don’t get killed by moving scenery. Now granted, those are all very important things to work out but do you know how long it takes to light one musical number? Think of the longest, most boring day you’ve ever spent at work. Then double it. Then think of the longest Tom Stoppard play you’ve seen that you didn’t understand even though you told people you did, then double that. Then add your doubled longest day at work to your doubled longest Tom Stoppard play. That’s how long one hour of Tech feels. Get the picture? Yeah, it’s long.

Let me give you an example. Say, the first line of the play is “Hi, my name is Ted.” Let me first point out that that sounds like a lousy play. But what happens during Tech Week is the actor playing Ted walks on stage and says, “Hi, my name is …” and inevitably the director yellls “STOP!” and then dozens of designer gnomes run around and make everything look pretty.

Yes, that’s how much the written word is respected during Tech — the actor isn’t even allowed to finish the sentence. This, as you can imagine, drives the person who wrote the sentence in-freakin-sane. So I didn’t show up for work. I just hung home with my dog, Rocco, who apparently is gaining a huge fan base because of this blog, which, quite frankly, is wasted on him ’cause right now all he cares about is getting his forty-fifth belly rub of the day.

Oh yeah, another excuse reason I didn’t go to Tech today, I was sorta tired ’cause yesterday on our day off a beautiful Monday, we recorded The Toxic Avenger original cast album. With David producing and our five actors singin’ their talented hearts out, we laid down sixteen tracks in 8 hours (as David kept pointing out, it takes most rock bands three months to lay down 12 tracks.) But in the financially-challenged land of theatre, you get only one day to make an album or else it costs, like, an extra hundred thousand dollars to finish it and you’re screwed. So David, along with ace Musical Director Doug Katsaros, kept the actors singin’ and damn, if it didn’t all sound fantastic. David knows how to make a record, which I guess is why his band has sold a billion of them. I made helpful comments like, “Could they sing that again but this time sing it better,” which made me feel important. But it was a great day for the show and humanity and The Toxic Avenger album should be available on our Opening Night, April 6th, at New World Stages, as well as on ITunes and Amazon and the last two remaining record stores that are still open.

As I finish this vital entry, Blog star Rocco is standing under the kitchen cabinet that tauntingly holds his BBQ treats and he’s, well, whimpering. I mean, really whimpering. Wow. It sounds like the final scene of :Terms of Endearment.” Gotta go.

Nighttime Update: I broke down and I snuck into Writer’s Hell this evening and they were just finishing up the Opening Number and I gotta say — it looks spectacular. The set, the costumes, the lights, the wigs — they’re all witty and original and just brilliant. Rando and company know what they’re doing. I’m just glad I wasn’t there to see them do it.

Sincerely, I mean really sincerely, I mean so sincerely it hurts,
Joe