Our college (Cornerstone University) is featuring Into the Woods in the 2 middle weeks of April! This is my first opportunity to view the show from a non-acting perspective. I am Assistant Stage Manager!
This first blog is not to describe the progress we have made on our musical, but rather have a little observation of theatre in general. By the way, we've thought of some songs for the musical..."Phone Tag" sounds like a good one (we just can't copy "Therapy" from Tick Tick Boom)!!
I am beginning to realize the importance of producing a show. Duh, shows need to be produced. But communication and teamwork to get it set up. Actors only worry about getting lines down, not upsetting the director, and hoping that their character rises a bit more than what is expected.
Well, there is the light aspect, the props aspect, the stagecraft aspect, the stage managing aspect, and a lot more that can just join the list unsaid.
My high school director always used to ask why we as actors couldn't "arrive" to a great presentation "two weeks earlier" than we did. For example, we wouldn't nail our characters until like two days before tech week. However, if we meshed about two weeks earlier, we could spend valuable time refining the work to an even better offering.
Well...this is Ian Grell saying, "Don't just look at the actors, people." The structure and order of the play practice schedule will play its role on the formation of the work. And if the set hasn't been built? Oh yes, that has a toll as well.
All this to say that in order to put on a great show is not only to get the perfect cast of actors, but of production. There's not a hierarchy. We depend on each other. Just like the audience assists the show to go on just as much as the actors control the pace. We need good communication to delegate responsibility, to stay faithful to deadlines, to set big goals to meet early so we can experience catharsis in the arena of practice and not just the playwright's text.
Moral of the prep work: The actor can't be the diva. The production staff can't always play the victim that thinks that no one is listening to them. Stop having such a focus in just your area. Be interdisciplined. Specialize in the place that you are assigned but plant daisies in the common ground that you find with your coworkers.