Hi-Ho, the Glamorous Life: The Tech Set

Marissa Skudlarek eavesdrops at tech rehearsal.

NOTE: potential spoilers ahead for The Desk Set!

I’m writing this late at night, after our final dress rehearsal for The Desk Set. It went really well, but I have no energy left for profound thoughts or insights — just some observations of life backstage and onstage.

It occurred to me that if you’ve never participated in a theatrical production, you might not realize that tech and dress rehearsals require intelligent adults to have serious conversations about things that would sound utterly ridiculous to an outside observer.

Over the past week, I have participated in or overheard serious conversations about all of the following subjects:

  • How can we make a wax candle not look like a wax candle?
  • Where can we obtain vast quantities of dot-matrix printer paper with stuff printed on it already?
  • Were there champagne splits in 1955?
  • Were there ZIP codes in 1955?
  • Was there pantyhose in 1955?
  • If we accidentally put something onstage that is not historically accurate for 1955, is anyone going to care?
  • What lipstick colors from the 1950s are still being sold by Revlon?
  • Why, scientifically speaking, will a champagne bottle explode backstage in a hot dressing room?
  • Will a champagne-soaked rabbit hand puppet survive a trip through the washing machine?
  • Where can we get a hair dryer to dry out the rabbit puppet after we wash him?
  • Why the hell did William Marchant, the playwright, write a gag that involves a bottle of champagne being pulled from a stuffed rabbit?
  • What is the “craziest,” i.e. most ridiculously padded bra, that Victoria’s Secret sells?
  • What is the best way for me to shove my foam-rubber-enhanced chest in the face of another actor and then hustle him offstage while tango-dancing?
  • When is the ideal moment for one actor to deliver the line “boop-boop-a-doop” to a beeping faux computer that is made of cardboard?
  • Would Allison Page, Megan Briggs, and Stuart Bousel even have produced The Desk Set in the first place if they’d known how many props would be required?

Marissa Skudlarek is a San Francisco-based playwright, arts writer, and sometime actress. See her (and a stuffed rabbit and a lot of other props) onstage in The Desk Set, July 9 to 25 at EXIT Theatre. Tickets here.