Last week, I found out that I had one a giveaway to sit in on a tech rehearsal for the upcoming revival of Spring Awakening. First of all, I may have screamed just a bit. I was very excited. I have been through many tech weeks, but seeing a tech of a Broadway show is completely different.
I got into Manhattan at around 7pm, went to Starbucks (of course) and then went to wait for Alice to come get myself and the other person who won with me, Isaac (whom I had met while waiting).
At 7:30 or so, we went into the theatre and met Ken Davenport, the producer of Spring Awakening (and the person who did the giveaway in the first place). We sat down and I started to just look around and take everything in.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in what the amount of computers/technology that filled the theatre. Every table had a computer (and the tables where the lighting and sound people were had a ton of technology).
Second, I noticed how everything worked like a well oiled, slightly chaotic machine. It seemed like everything was hectic, but in reality, everything was running pretty smoothly.
I got to come in as they were finishing some teching for the last two numbers of the show. I also heard a few songs and got to watch the first few scenes of the show.
Overall, it was a really interesting process. There was a lot of stopping to correct sound, lighting, cueing (I’ll get a bit into why that is so important in a sec) and blocking. Seeing how everything slowly gets built up to be the show that everyone sees was really eye opening.
The most interesting aspect of this show is that half of the cast is deaf/hard of hearing and the show is done simultaneously in spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL). That is why “cueing” is so important. Since many of the cast members can’t hear, they have to be sure that the actors have small cues that help them know when to begin signing.
The ASL is a fantastic aspect of the show. Not only does it make the show more accessible for deaf/hard of hearing individuals, but ASL is a beautiful language.
I feel like I was able to learn a lot as an actor from watching the deaf actors, as they are extremely expressive.
The actors who play the “voices” of the deaf actors are amazingly talented (and many are versed in multiple instruments).
So here are my reasons for seeing the revival of Spring Awakening if you are in the New York area between September 8th and January 9th:
- You will be exposed to a new language
- You will be in awe of the talent from all of the actors
- You will be captivated by the story and how the deaf actors add a new depth to the story
- You will love the music and the harmonies
- The theatre is intimate and beautiful
- You just should. Seriously stop questioning and go buy a ticket