Moving into the theatre

This week our focus shifts from the rehearsal hall to the stage. The scenic settings we are using for Turandot are very complex in that there are numerous large sections of scaffolding that move about the stage which are pushed by supernumeraries (or “extras”). In addition, the carts that carry the characters Ping, Pang and Pong are also pushed about the stage. The location and destinations of the above must be exact and precise. Therefore, a great deal of time is needed to rehearse the placement of these units. We have been able to secure more time than usual on the actual stage in Southam Hall in order to rehearse these intricate moves.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 7, rehearsals begin with the orchestra. Time is precious with the orchestra due to availability and cost. There are only two rehearsals with the orchestra alone. Then one with singers and orchestra together to focus on musical details followed by two dress rehearsals complete with scenery and costumes, so in total only five rehearsals with orchestra.

In addition, there are rehearsals on stage with the singers but without orchestra. These rehearsals are accompanied by the rehearsal pianist and the focus of the rehearsals are on coordinating the positioning of the singers on stage with the scenery, costumes and lighting. The backstage crew is very busy during this week coordinating the above details. The backstage crew belongs to a union called IATSE  (International Alliance of Theatrical Employees). They play a very important role in the safety of the singers and other performers on stage. Fortunately, Ottawa has one of the best backstage crews in the country so we are in very good hands.

The final week leading up to the opening night performance is both invigorating and exhausting. The day before opening night, all the performers have the day off in order to rest and prepare for opening night.

We hope to see you there Sept. 11,13,15,18, 2010.

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