A pain in the tech
Have you ever been part of a 10 Out of 12 rehearsal? Tell us here!
Until recently, the term 10 Out of 12 was little known outside of the professional theatre community. One of a long list of Actors’ Equity Association rules for union members, it’s a 12-hour rehearsal day in which a maximum of 10 hours are spent working on lights, sound, costumes, and other technical elements. Elongated rehearsals like these aren’t the norm; in fact, Equity stipulates that 10 Out of 12 rehearsals may only take place during the seven days prior to a production’s first public performance, in other words, tech week.
Does all of this sound dry and kind of boring? Well, perhaps it is, and yet 10 Out of 12 rehearsals are essential when prepping a show to open. Interestingly, experimental playwright Anne Washburn was so inspired by the reams of notes she took during 10 Out of 12 rehearsals for her shows over the years, she wrote a play about it called (you guessed it) 10 Out of 12, which ran at Soho Rep in 2015. Not only did audiences become familiar with the term, they also got a taste of the grueling, complicated, and intense nature of these rehearsals by watching the (in)action onstage while listening to the backstage chatter between stage managers and designers on headsets.
When interviewed about the play (on a break during a 10 Out of 12 rehearsal, of course), Washburn told The New York Times that she wanted to convey how a technical rehearsal is “immensely boring, but then immensely sort of interesting and weird.” The director, Les Waters, added, “It’s physically damaging, and it can be emotionally damaging. I think you lose a bit of yourself in tech…I’ve seen people lose it and shout and throw things.” Hmmm, maybe 10 Out of 12 rehearsals aren’t so boring after all!
— Raven Snook