There's a point at every production when you go into what's called "tech," which of course stands for technical rehearsals. This is the moment when all of the elements that make up the technical component of the piece: lights, sound, music, effects, costume, make-up (in our case, blood—or as it's been named by the crew, "Macgoo"), multi-media, and anything else that might be required, are implemented into the show. It often coincides with the moment the actors first step onto the stage. In our case, we actually got on stage about a full week before we went into tech. It's an interesting transition; one of the traps you can fall into is to immediately start "performing," filling the space before you're ready. I've been known to do this. The good thing about getting into "the space" early is that you can make the inevitable spatial adjustments that are required between the rehearsal hall and the stage. This is ALWAYS true, unless you actually rehearse the play on the stage where you perform, which is very rare.
The "tech period" is all about adjustments. If the tech is ambitious, as ours is, the adjustments have to be made minute to minute as the tech changes and takes form. I've often said that I love watching tech rehearsals but hate being in them... I think that's because it's very exciting to see a show take shape, but it can feel like paint drying to be a performer while those changes are taking place around you. Something as fundamental as an entrance, or an exit, becomes very different when it is combined with lights and music, and the actor has to be on his toes and make any necessary adjustments without drawing too much attention to himself—after all, this is the tech period, and the focus is on the technical details. What an actor needs—a connection with another actor—can become lost here in: the search for the perfect light state, the correct length of sound cue, how to navigate the scene in this dress or those shoes, keeping a wig on one's head, is this too much blood or not enough, do these pants make my bum look too big, etc. etc.
The trick is to keep focused. Luckily we have a very focused group. Everyone has managed to keep their eyes on the prize—keeping connection with the other actors. No matter how ambitious the tech is, the actors' job is always to keep the connections between themselves fresh and alive and true to the moment. Every single person in this cast has been diligent in doing so. Of course, everything changes night to night, and the work grows as it goes, but that can't happen if people don't come to work prepared to work, which sometimes happens. I'm very proud to be in a group of actors who care so much about the work. Our tech is quite intense—we have projections on the back wall, on chairs, on people, we have a very comprehensive soundtrack, lots of actors playing different parts (so what we call "quick changes"—the changing of clothes extremely quickly, aided by costume people in the wings) in different costumes and wigs, a big fight at the end and LOTS of blood—but all of this is in the service of the play, and so are the actors.
When we have all of these elements in place, only one thing is missing, and that's the audience. Without which, of course, there's no point in the venture....