From paper to Performance; The stage comes alive

Where have i been????? Well this post will definitely answer that question! From a idea on sketch paper, drilling and sawing, measuring and painting, rehearsing, and  long nights with mountain dew . I had one heck of a time and I even got to see the live thing! Okay so you are probably so confused now. This is the amazing time i had:

Our schools musical was put on recently. And wow….it was amazing. The sets. Remember my class tech. Theatre design? Well the sets that were used were just a sketch on paper. Months ago. And i was seeing it in real life. Incredible. Not only did i spend a ton of time on sets. I also was asked by my tech. design  teacher  to work the follow spots. Well since i don’t like to disappoint people i said yes. So we had a ton of rehearsals from 6-10 and some days 4-10. I was nervous though. Like no.. the .Throw-up nervous.  However I’m still here and I did it. So here is how things for the performance went. 

Just kidding reviewing my post here is some things you need to know….Well you can skip over these but you may be confused. All from this site

Cutting out action and dialogue between cues during a technical rehearsal, to save time. (e.g. “OK, can I stop you there – we’ll now jump to the end of this scene. We’ll pick it up from Simon’s line “And from then on it was all downhill” in a moment. OK – we’re all set – when you’re ready please.”)

There is a standard sequence for giving verbal cues:

  • Stand-by Sound Cue 19′ (Stand-by first)
  • ‘Sound Cue 19 Go‘ (Go last).

The girl who did stage lights gave me cues for when to turn on my spotlight. She gave the cues in the exact sequence form


Room at the rear of the auditorium (in a proscenium theatre) where lighting and sometimes sound is operated from. Known in the US as the BOOTH. The stage manager calling the cues is very often at the side of the stage (traditionally stage left) but in some venues he/she may be in the control room also. The control room is usually soundproofed from the auditorium so that communications between operators cannot be heard by the audience. A large viewing window is obviously essential, as is a show relay system so that the performance can be heard by the operators. Obviously if sound is being mixed, the operator should be able to hear the same as the audience, so some control rooms have sliding or removable windows, or a completely separate room for sound mixing. Where possible, the sound desk is moved into the auditorium so that the operator can hear the same as the audience.
Also known as the BOX.

This is where I was with the follow spots.


A full rehearsal, with all technical and creative elements brought together. The performance as it will be ‘on the night’.


Sticky cloth tape. Most common widths are .5 inch for marking out areas and 2 inch (usually black) for everything else. Used for temporarily securing almost anything. Should not be used on coiled cables or equipment. Originally known as Gaffer’s Tape, from the Gaffer (Master Electrician) on a film set. Also known as Duct Tape. See PVC Tape.

I used the tape to mark where to open my spots. This was so that my spot partner and I both had the same size spotlight for the songs we spotted together.



1) General term for theatre communication equipment.
2) A headphone and microphone combination used in such communications systems with a beltpack.


a German term used in opera and musical theatre to describe a seated rehearsal—the literal translation of Sitzprobe—where the singers sing with the orchestra, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. It is often the first rehearsal where the orchestra and singers rehearse together.

2/12 —> 2/15
Act I: Full rehearsal
Tues. Full Cast Rehearsal: Sitzprobe
Full Rehearsal Run Act 2 with accompanist
6-10 pm
Full Cast Rehearsal , RUN SHOW with accompanist
6-10 pm


Mon. & Tues.
Dress rehearsal

Preveiw: 2/21
Opening 2/22
Normal Show —–.> 2/23 & 2/24
Matinee/last show 2/25

Before shows….
Mop stage
Prepare sets
Techie chant (basically chanting positive things and hoping for the best outcome overall)
Cast and Tech crew circle: -director pumps everyone up, wishes good luck, and we do a group hand squeeze (like the Girls scout circle squeeze)
Sometimes we also sing song to get energy going
And as we exit to go to our places there are some cast members giving us high fives and wishing us good luck

Everything was wong on 2/21

Problem: comm. System wasn’t working

the stage light person couldn’t give me a heads up on cues through headset.
so she did not know when everyone seated to bring up the house to half since she needs to confirm with the run crew backstage. Eventually it worked.

Problem: The Lightbulb in my spotlight was out
Didn’t realize until i was to put it on a person during a song
So i panicked, no i almost cried on headset
Tec. director of the performing art center told me to run over to other side of the booth and use other spotlight.
Then i couldn’t find my headset on that side
Once i did i couldn’t plug it in the dark
Eventually got it.
Since i had to move quickly i forgot my stool at the other spot but there was no time so i stood on my tiptoes all act 1

During intermission we realized my bulb was out. So we fixed it then.

Then everything was pretty muich perfect.

I learned….

  1. Don’t Take Everything Personally-Cristisim is expected. No im not perfect in fact there is always room for improving. People do yell and fustration is always lurking but you cannot take it personally otherwise you will be a wreck and that would make the whole week  miserable.
  2. . You will have to rerun scene changes for way longer than anyone wants to.
  3. What is said by the director goes…no question. On Sunday the 18, we planned to be in the theatre from 10 in the mormning to 5. Well….we ended at 8 insted.
  4. You will be booked every night after school and rush to get your homework done. Seriously teachers have no clue how stressful it is. Ironically though it seems they give out the most homework during tech week.
  5. Everything is opposite -This is what i mean


Not my own image credit to Communication is key

6. Expect the unexpected. remeber preveiw night? Yeah I think that explains it pretty well.

7. Pencils become your best friend. Quick changing of cues are always a possibility. Hence, why I always wore a bun. This way I could hold a pencil with my hair for easy access. 

All in all, The rest of the performances we had after went pretty smoothly too. It was so much work and very long and tiring but it was definitively worth it. The crew is a wonderful group of people I actually cried later realizing it was over. Everyone is so positive and helpful. Makes it so much more enjoyable and  I just love the whole thing. Its wondeful to see it come to life.

Want to know More about how things go in theater?

check out my pinterest board all about it



4 thoughts on “From paper to Performance; The stage comes alive

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