5 Reasons To Discontinue the Term “Hell Week” for Tech Rehearsals

by Scott Cooper, Theatre Tampa Bay Award recipient, Set Designer and Director
1. Every show you will ever do will go into tech. If it is “hell”, it is something to be hated by actors and directors and that is NEVER something to look forward to in the process.
2. The students on the tech side of things are coming in to do something that is hard to do to begin with (in about ¼ of the time that that actors had in rehearsal)—there is already pressure on them and calling what they do “hell” isn’t helping.
3. Dreading “hell week” is dreading putting the show fully together….it would be simple to put what you have done in rehearsal on stage in rehearsal light with no costumes/ props/ sets/ mics…but we don’t want that. Isn’t adding this element a good thing (even if it is difficult?)
4. If that week (or few days) is “hell” something is wrong…maybe there wasn’t time to finish, maybe it wasn’t planned properly, maybe something happened to slow down the process but calling it “hell” and being miserable about it isn’t helping anyone.
5. Students learn from students (and teachers/directors) and if they call it “hell” the next generation will do the same…please stop so when these students later show up at a college tech—they aren’t complaining all the time about “hell week”. This is something I must respond to consistently and make sure they don’t use that term if they are going on to the professional world of theater (not something that is said).
Tech theater deserves to be respected. Calling what we do “hell” because it is hard, or time consuming or whatever, is demeaning to what we do (yup—I am one of the tech people!). Please stop! Thank you for reading my Scott talk….

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