DEAR JOURNAL is an original musical centering around four teenagers' lives as they enter Middle School. The show tackles youth-centric issues such as popularity, peer pressure, betrayals, and coming into one's own identity. Conceived, directed, and produced entirely by two seventh-graders, Eric Gelb and Ryan Hurley, DEAR JOURNAL's path to the stage is an inspiring one.
Without the aid of adults, and facing limited budget and resources, Eric and Ryan were the sole creative forces behind the production - from scouting rehearsal locations and performance spaces, to the coordination of all technical elements of the production, casting, and dealing with fundraising and administrative duties.
To kick-off this year's Student Center
, BroadwayWorld approached DEAR JOURNAL's co-creator Eric Gelb to blog about the team's challenges, rewards and lessons in putting together the production.
Below is Eric's fourth blog entry. If you missed last week's, catch up here
! And check back soon for another instalment!THE ROAD TO: 'Dear Journal: The Musical'BLOG #4: Tech
Believe it or not, tech week was here.
Ryan and I scrambled to finish script re-writes and set finishing touches. Our first day of tech I remember vividly. We were having some problems with the set; it wasn't moving off fast enough. We had to take extra time to assign pieces to cast members. Hair and makeup alone took alone half an hour and then we would have to re-set. The runs were going somewhat smooth, but we would periodically have to stop to put in new lines/feed people lines.
However, our biggest problem was time. Since the library wasn't our space, we would have to take up and tear down our set every rehearsal and show which was an event in itself, so we would have to end rehearsal at least 30 minutes early to clean. Then, some unexpected library events popped up and bam...we lost a day of tech. We also were shifted around in our rooms a little bit (the performance room was not always the one we were able to rehearse in.) However, we were making good progress and Ryan and I were really starting to feel proud of our handiwork. By this time, the show had sold out its two-performance run at the Library. That in itself is a rewarding feat.
With days left until opening night, backstage space got tighter, costume changes got faster and scenery was repaired. The show was finally beginning to pull together. Something that stood in our way was school. Our classes ended at 3:30 and rehearsal started at 4:00. We had half an hour to rest eat, do homework and get to the theatre. Rehearsal always ran until 9 and then by the time I would home, I would be incredibly tired. Priorities weren't my strong strength. But I was happy.
The visuals in my head I'd been dreaming about for a year were finally becoming a reality, and it was a good feeling.
DEAR JOURNAL began touring across the Michigan area in 2011-2012 with more venues planned for 2013.
To learn more about DEAR JOURNAL, visit their Facebook page here