Theater tech week begins for exclusive “Airness”

Final preparations for upcoming show start


Peter Shumway

Seniors Vivian Kreeb and Jessica Dziedzic pose in front of the set for “Airness.”

TheatreMclean has begun hosting “Tech Week” in preparation for their upcoming, limited-seating show, “Airness.”

“Tech Week is the week leading up to the show, and it’s where the tech elements of the show and the actor elements of the show all come together,” Theater Director Philip Reid said. “We’ve been rehearsing the show for a couple weeks…and we just find the balance between the two.”

Tech Week allows the crew and actors to identify any problems in production and resolve them before the official show opens to the public.

“The point of Tech Week is to incorporate the actors and tech, and work out any kinks along the way so that we are prepared for the shows,” said senior and Technical Director JT Fulkerson.

“Airness” is TheatreMcLean’s upcoming show and is seating is limited to the cast and crew’s family. The performance is unlike most productions from the past because it will take place in the Black Box studio as opposed to the larger auditorium stage.

“With the theme and vibe of the show, it makes sense to do it in a smaller, more intimate space, rather than the stage, because sometimes the stage can be way too massive and can take away a lot of the more specific and quieter moments in the show,” Reid said. “This show has a lot of great, quieter character moments and lots of loud air guitar, and I thought it’d be really cool to have that in a smaller space to really push that energy to the audience.”

The change in setting for the show also brings its own set of challenges, especially in designing the set.

“When working on a regular stage, the space is a lot bigger and audience members are farther away, which affects how the set is lit and constructed,” said Fulkerson. “With the audience being part of the acting space, we have to account for [the space constraints in] much finer detail than what would be necessary on a normal stage.”

“This show has been different because we really had to use the space efficiently,” said Vivian Kreeb, Head of Set Design and Construction. “We had to alter some plans and cut some of our ideas because there just isn’t enough space to include tons of large set pieces, especially since the audience takes up a lot of the space in the room.”

“Airness” is also important because it is a Cappies show, where student-critics from elsewhere in the county watch and critique the performance. It is the first one since the pandemic began, and a well-rated show could catapult McLeanTheatre to one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world.

“[The student-critics] vote on [the] show at the end of the year, and the top 5 plays and top 5 musicals that get nominated get to perform at the Kennedy Center,” Reid said.” We got nominated for best play [at] the last Cappies we did, and we performed Lord of the Flies at the Kennedy Center.”

Senior Vivian Kreeb makes final adjustments to the “Airness” set. (Vivian Kreeb)

Tech Week is known to be a demanding, strenuous activity. The cast and crew stay late until 10 pm on weekdays, but many believe it’s an enjoyable opportunity for students to bond and spend time together. McLeanTheatre members receive other benefits, too.

“During Tech Week, one thing I always look forward to is the dinners provided by the [donors],” Fulkerson said. “We get a rest for dinner and get to enjoy food from restaurants like Taco Bamba and Moby Dick.”

Tickets are only open to family members of those involved in the show because of the small venue, but the cast and crew have still enjoyed putting the production together.

“It’s a rock-and-roll show, so there is great music and concert effects that are always fun to watch. It’s a great show and it’s been super fun to work on,” Fulkerson said.