THE PERFORMANCE BRIDGE
At the end of the rehearsal period, the production will move out of the rehearsal space & into the theatre where it will be staged before an audience. All the props & pieces of the set that are required for the show & which have been used in rehearsal will have to be cleared & transported to the theatre. If you have had to rig a PA system for the rehearsals now is the time to remove it.
The "get-in" is the period where a theatre is prepared for an incoming show. This is usually a short period of frenetic activity. The set has to be transported to the theatre by truck, unloaded & installed, the lights have to be rigged & focused & the sound system has to be installed & tested. (It is usual for the lights to be rigged first as the stage is clear & there is easy access to the lighting bars. If speakers need to be flown from bars, now is a good time to rig them.)
An empty theatre makes no money, therefore it makes sense for the owners to keep the turnaround time between shows as short as possible. This however means that there is usually in insufficient amount of time between the previous show's get-out & your get-in & technical rehearsal. The get-in is inevitably a stressfull time in which everyone attempts to get as prepared as possible before the arrival of the actors. (Get-ins will often happen at weekends or over night.)
Use the get-in time to rig the equipment required for the show.
DO NOT PLACE CABLES OR SOUND EQUIPMENT ON THE STAGE UNTIL THE SET HAS BEEN COMPLETELY BUILT & PAINTED. IF YOU DO, YOU CAN EXPECT NAILS TO BE HAMMERED THROUGH YOUR CABLES BY THE CARPENTERS & YOUR SOUND EQUIPMENT TO BE PAINTED BY THE SCENIC ARTISTS.
It makes sense to start by installing your mixing desk, computers, playback devices, FX, etc either in the control room (aka lightbox/soundbox) or in the auditorium depending on where you are going to be operating the show from. Leave the on-stage placement of speakers, mics etc until later.
CONTROL ROOM OR AUDITORIUM?
Most theatres have a control room at the very back of the auditorium where the lighting operator & sound operator sit. It will have a window looking over the stage & sometimes this window can be opened. The problem with operating the sound from the control room is that you can not hear what the audience is hearing in the auditorium. You are not in the same room that your speakers are in. Sometimes it makes better sense to be in the auditorium so that you can hear the same as the audience is hearing. The problem with this is that seats that could be sold will be lost so that you can install your mixing desk & equipment. Also some of the audience may find the light you require to operate your equipment in the otherwise dark auditorium distracting.
There are no rules regarding this but for very complex shows I would rather operate the sound in the auditorium if this is at all possible. Bear in mind also that one of your ears will have a headphone on it enabling communication with the stage manager.
GET-IN "TO DO" LIST
It is vitally important that you document all settings on your equipment for every sound cue of a performance. There are two very good reasons for this:
There is no standard for cue sheets but the following information needs to be provided:
Even if you are using digital mixing desks with scene recall or cueing software it is still valuable to have written documentation of all your settings as well as back-ups. After all you never know when the computer might crash or the digital desk break down. When crises do occur at least you will have put in the systems to minimise their impact.