Under the Hood, Volume 4

by Katie Woodzick


Hour 1: We are called to the theatre at 1:30 PM. When actors arrive, the director and crew are running tests on pyrotechnic events and we're not allowed onstage. The cast goes to our assigned dressing rooms, putting on rehearsal skirts and shoes and reviewing our lines, lyrics and blocking.

Hour 2: Programming and Production Director (and our producer) Deana Duncan introduces us to the crew: in addition to our stage manager, Rich, we have two assistant stage managers on headset who are stationed on either side of the stage, and light and sound board operators who sit in the booth on either side of Rich. WICA's Technical Director, Tyler Raymond, is also in the booth, adjusting sound cues as needed.

Hour 3: We're finally ready to start the cue to cue rehearsal! We begin running the show from the top, jumping to spots in the script where lighting, sound, fog and pyrotechnic cues occur. This rehearsal is for the tech crew to refine their process and we actors are not in costume. 

Hour 4: Our director, Rob, sits in the house, next to our Assistant Director and Lighting Designer Annie Deacon. By the end of tech weekend, his yellow legal pad will be full of notes on editing sound and light cues.

Hour 5: We're roughly halfway through Act I at this point. There's no way to predict how long tech rehearsals will go. Normally, both the cue to cue rehearsal and first full tech rehearsal happen in the same day. Since Into the Woods is such a complex show, we've been scheduled for two days of tech. At the beginning of the day, we thought we would get through both Act I and Act II cue to cue rehearsal. Now, it's looking like we'll need to either run late tonight or come in early on Sunday.

Hour 6: Dinner break! Cast members have all brought items for a potluck, which we share in Zech Hall. Deana and Rob let the cast know that the plan is to finish the Act I cue to cue rehearsal after dinner and that our call time is moved from 11:30 AM to 10 AM on Sunday, when we'll continue with the Act II cue to cue.

Hour 7: Back to work! We resume the Act I cue to cue. A climbing wall has been built onto the stage left box boom to represent Jack's beanstalk. Rob talks the actors who climb up and down the wall through a safety check list,

Hour 8: We're about to start the Act I finale! Members of the cast are released between 8:45 and 9:30, and that's the end of day one of tech!



Hour 9: We return to the theatre at 10:00 on Sunday. Rob gives the cast notes before we begin the cue to cue rehearsal for Act II, which we're hoping will run roughly two and a half hours.

Hour 10: Several "holds" are called during cue to cue rehearsals. The stage manager calls holds from the booth over a "god mic," which can be heard throughout the entire theatre. Holds can be called for safety purposes, or ask actors to go back to an earlier part of the script refine the placement of cues.

Hour 11: Our accompanist, Kathy Fox, has her keyboard set up in the stage right box, next to the sound and lighting booth. This is also where Morgan Bondelid plays her scenes as the Giant's Wife, watching the actors onstage and interacting with them on a microphone that's fed into the sound system.

Hour 12: Some of the most complicated cues in the show happen during the song "The Last Midnight." There are sound, lighting, fog and pyrotechnic cues, meaning that at certain points during the song, the stage manager is giving four simultaneous "go" cues to four different crew members. We go over this sequence several times, which...

... triggers the fire alarm. All cast and crew leave the building until we're cleared to go back inside. We finish up the Act II cue to cue and break for lunch.

Hour 13: Time for hair, make up and costumes! Each character has a unique makeup and hair design, which the individual actors are responsible for executing for themselves, or finding fellow cast members to help them. Stage makeup needs to be able to withstand the heat of stage lighting--Ben Nye and Max Factor are the most common types of thick foundation that actors use. It can take between 20 and 45 minutes to apply stage make up, depending on how complicated the design is.

Hour 14: Everyone's in costume and ready to go! We're 15 minutes away from starting the first full tech run through--all the lights, costumes--everything! 

Hour 15: The first tech rehearsal takes longer than a normal show does, as the actors are getting used to moving in their costumes, doing quick changes, and the stage manager can still call holds.

Hour 16: We take a 15 minute break for intermission. I've brought a knitting project to help pass the time--Morgan Bondelid and Nancy Pfeiffer can also be seen knitting away at various times during the weekend. 

Hours 17 & 18: We finish Act II! We change out of our costumes and head into the house to receive acting notes from Rob and hair, makeup and costume notes from Mira. We leave the theatre around 7:30 PM. Whew! Tech weekend is over! Only four more full runs and then we get to share the show with YOU, the audience! 

In the words of Little Red Riding Hood, "I'm excited!"

Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at and

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.