Hell Week Survival

If you’ve ever participated in live theatre, or if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that Tech Week aka “Hell Week” is the week-ish long period of intense rehearsals right before a show opens. This usually kicks off with a “10 out of 12” (rehearsing 10 hours out of a 12 hour period) technical rehearsal where lights, sound, sets etc are incorporated to the action, followed by orchestra and dress rehearsals with makeup and hair to finally tie it all together.

This weekend kicks off Hell Week for 9 to 5 the musical. Saturday is a 3 hour orchestra rehearsal followed by a 3 hour “dry tech,” where we rehearse all set movements without doing any scenes or songs. Since I am moving set pieces, I have to be there. Then Sunday is regular tech all day, then dress rehearsals Monday through Wednesday, and we open on Thursday night.

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This will be a long, exhausting week. It’s not uncommon for performers to get sick during Hell Week because they’re just so run down. I REALLY don’t want to succumb to any illness right now, so I’ll be doing my damnedest to stay healthy. How? I’m glad you asked. Obviously, everything from my recent post about keeping your voice healthy applies, but here’s my specific plan for this week.

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Hydration
The Flynn Theatre is notoriously dry. I’ll be spending lots of hours there this coming week, so it’s more important than ever for me to stay on top of liquid consumption. I’ve got my desktop humidifier going every day at work, and I’m sucking down water and tea with honey like it’s my job. I also re-downloaded a water tracking app for my phone to make sure I’m taking in at least 100 oz of hydrating liquids every day (I don’t count my coffee).

Good Eats
It’s really easy during a busy week to let nutrition go out the window. I’m determined to get some meal prep done during down time this week, and also stock up on healthy, easy, portable snacks to take with me to the theatre. Nuts, protein bars, and fruit are all on the menu. I actually joined an online group hosted by a college friend who is now a fitness instructor and health coach, and she’s given me some great recipes and ideas already!

Try to Get Sleep
I can’t lie, it will be challenging to get enough sleep in the coming days. Saturday and Sunday will both be long days, and then I will have rehearsal until god only knows how late every night next week after work. I may resort to napping on my lunch breaks.

Bye Bye CrossFit 😦
I love CF, and going always makes me feel good, but trying to cram it in next week is just going to be too much. I’ve already arranged to prorate my April membership so that I don’t need to worry about missing classes next week, and I can just focus on getting through the show in one piece.

Date Night
I’m not going to be home very much over the next week, so I’m trying to prioritize my marriage a bit and spend some quality time with Ben. We’re planning to have a nice date night on Saturday night before everything gets crazy. This will be a good opportunity to just relax and fill my metaphorical “bucket” with love and appreciation prior to the week of insanity.

Recovery Day
I have taken the Monday after the show closes off from work. I know I will be completely run down, so this will be an opportunity to catch up on sleep and just relax. I will also probably have a shitload of laundry and cleaning to catch up on at that point, so it will be good to have a day to just get my life back on track post-show, and hopefully avoid getting sick.

How do you cope when life gets crazy?

Manic Monday – 04/06/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

Well, here we are–show week for Legally Blonde! It feels like just yesterday that I was excitedly announcing I’d been cast, and how much I was looking forward to it. Yikes! This past week was busy, and this coming week will be even more so. I’m trying to squeeze in activity where I can, but honestly, rehearsals are a workout in and of themselves, so I don’t feel bad about letting my normal routine go out the window. Especially since I had a 13 hour rehearsal yesterday and didn’t get to bed until 1 am. Ouch.

Monday 03/30/15:  Lunchtime walk–49 minutes, 3.18 miles. The weather was cold and gray and spitting snow, but it was still nice to get out of the office and get my body moving. We also did a full run-through of the show, so I did plenty of dancing and jumping rope at rehearsal.

Tuesday 03/31/15:  Lunchtime walk–49 minutes, 3.47 miles. It was still pretty cold, but the sun was out, so I was able to soak up some much-needed vitamin D. I also did 10 push ups, 10 triceps dips, a 30 second plank, and a 30 second plank on each side before bed.

Wednesday 04/01/15:  Rest Day.  Work was nutty, so I was scrambling to get lunch on my break, and wasn’t able to get my walk in. I did do some shopping and walking around after work, though. And of course, dancing and jumping rope at Legally Blonde rehearsal.

Thursday 04/02/15:  Rest Day. I just didn’t feel like doing anything other than eating and sitting during lunch, so I didn’t. I ended up going to bed at 8:45 pm. I think I was just feeling super run down.

Friday 04/03/15:  Rest Day. This was my awesome evening off. I had a few drinks with Ben and my in-laws, and went to bed at 10 pm. 

Saturday 04/04/15:  Rest Day. This was a mostly relaxing day. The only sour note was driving in to town (about 45 minutes) only to find out that the scheduled rehearsal had been cancelled while I was driving in. Boo. But Ben and I made the best of it by having an impromptu date night of pizza and beer. Then I want home, changed into my PJs, and watched movies for a while before bed.

Sunday 04/05/15:  Tech Day. This was a looooong and frustrating day. Lots of hurry up and wait. Lots of just plain wait. Lots of frayed tempers and punchy, overtired laughter. I got to the theater at 11 am and didn’t leave until 12 am. 

I’m gonna be honest, when my alarm went off this morning, I kind of wanted to die. I’m clutching my large Dunkies iced coffee and praying for the strength to make it through today without physically harming anyone. And I get to go back to the theater at 5:30 and do it all over again. I’m trying to remind myself that I signed up for this, that this is in fact something I love to do, and just keep a positive attitude.

The focus for this week is staying healthy. Eating as well as I can, sleeping as much as I can, and hydrating like a BOSS. The theater is more dry than the Sahara, I swear it just sucks the moisture right out of you. The good news is, the end is in sight. After Sunday, I’ll have a glorious month and a half free from rehearsals, so I can get back to running, hit up some Body Pump classes, and generally get back on track.

Who else is riding the Struggle Bus this morning? I’m driving it…

Friday Free-For-All – 04/03/15

Friday

This will be my first Friday night off since January! Because rehearsals have been going so well recently, the artistic team decided to give us the night off before we move into the big theater this weekend and go into crazy, rehearsal every night mode. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to just GO HOME after work tonight and hang out. I’m going to put my PJs on immediately and veg out all night. Yay! Speaking of rehearsals…

This weekend kicks off “Hell Week.” In the theater world, the week before a show opens is officially known as Tech Week. This is when you add all the technical elements like costumes, lighting, sound etc to the performance. It’s a LOT of work–lots of late nights, frayed tempers, and frustration. This causes it to be known unofficially as “Hell Week.” I don’t anticipate getting much sleep next week. And workouts? Ha! I’ll be lucky if I have time to eat.

It’s warm today! In the mid-fifties! Kind of sunny! Hopefully this will melt the remaining snow and really kick spring off. Of course, it’s supposed to be cold again this weekend, sooo…

What have you got planned for the weekend?

How’s the weather where you are?