Hello all! Welcome to Tech Tuesday. Often times people see productions and all of the magic therein, but never get to meet the brains behind the production! We are here to remedy that.
We at The Rose think it is important that our audience members, patrons and readers understand what it takes to put together a production from the technical side. Whether it’s from the perspective of the Lighting designer or the scenic designer, there are so many different aspects to consider.
Today we are going to talk a little about our Technical Director and what he does for each production at The Rose. We conducted a short interview with The Rose’s Technical Director, Greg Rishoi, and learned a little bit more about the day to day functions of his job and what he does to help make our shows happen!
Maybe some of your questions will be answered in the following interview!
Can you please describe what it means to do the job of a Technical Director?
The technical director is in charge of building all of the scenery. I take the scenic design (provided by a scenic designer) and engineer how the scenic units are built in order to make sure the design fits within material and labor budgets as well as making sure the set is safe and able to be transported into the performance space.I am also responsible for maintaining the rigging equipment (the materials that we use to hang stuff from the batens above the stage), purchasing materials, drafting the build plans for the Master Carpenter, and making sure all tools are in safe working order.
What do your daily duties consist of?
As the Technical Director, I wear many hats–so my daily responsibilities are constantly changing. A typical day might involve drafting and engineering the next show, checking in on the building process of the current show to make sure there are no problems and that we have all of the materials needed to continue building the show, and attending a design meeting for the 3rd show in line and working with the scenic designer to make sure the show can be built according to the design or making changes if necessary. I am often working on three to four shows at a time. Sometimes I have to order materials and schedule a delivery or go pick up the materials ordered. Of course, once a show is up and in the space, I will start planning the strike schedule (when we take everything out of the space at the end of the run) and the load-in schedule of the next show.
What inspired you to start working in theater? What inspired you to work as a Technical Director?
I have always enjoyed working with my hands and being able to use my creativity to solve problems. I have not always been involved in theater though. I am a fine artist and found that the collaborative environment of theater is a great place to make a living creating. I started out wanting to be a scenic designer but after working in the scenic shop, I knew that I wanted to be a Technical Director.
Did you go to school for theater?
Yes. I have a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Technical Direction.
When/What was your first theatrical experience?
I started working theater about 10 years ago. I would go into the University theater in the town I was living in and volunteer in the scene shop.
What show that you have worked on are you most proud of?
I am proud of many of the shows I have worked on.
Was there a moment in your life that solidified that you wanted to be a theater artist?
Not a particular moment. But I have always wanted to be an artist and theater is a very rewarding place to continue my creative passion.
What is your favorite part of your job as a Technical Director?
If I had to pick one thing, it would be the engineering aspect. I enjoy all of the problem solving that I get to do.
What is your least favorite part of your job?
Some days my job is extremely physical–so carrying scenery is my least favorite thing that I have to do.
If you had any advice for a child who wanted to pursue a career as a Technical Director, what would it be?
Being a technical director is a very demanding job and can be stressful at times. But I do what I love so the rewards greatly outweigh the downsides. Work hard in school, especially the math and science classes–you will need the skills that you learn in these classes every day. Most importantly, find what you are passionate about and you will be successful in life.
It’s amazing what Greg does each and every day–especially with an 11-show season! There is no doubt, however, just how vital his role in the theater and production team is.
Thank you, Greg, for telling us about what you do and most of all, thank you for doing what you do to make sure that theater happens at The Rose!
If there are any questions about Greg and what his job entails, feel free to comment and we’ll answer any questions that we can!
Happy Tech Tuesday!