Author Topic: What's that about a script?  (Read 1943 times)

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What's that about a script?
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »
(Submitted by Jennifer)


So here I am stage managing college theatre.  It’s one of those set ups where you’re stage managing one show and running costumes on another two weeks later.  So my show is going off ok.  I’m having to do light sound and projection cues but I’ve managed to get into the swing of things.  I’m not planning on working on the next show up since I’m falling behind in classes then I get an email from the stage manager.  ‘How would you like to call Hamlet Dreams?’  ‘Hamlet Dreams? I thought we were doing Hamletmachine by Muller. Ok sure just have to call the show no problem’  So I show up for rehearsals that have been going on for almost 8 weeks announce that I will be calling the show and in essence the new stage manager.  The response I got was ‘we have an old stage manager?’  This is so not a good sign.  Apparently the stage manager had only shown for 4 or 5 rehearsals and the ASM was AWOL.  So first I ask for a script.  Well they decided to do some sort of deconstructed Hamlet
using only the characters that actually die.  Apparently Hamletmachine was just to constrictive (and if you know this show you know that’s a laugh).  And there is no script.  People aren’t even entirely sure which scenes are going to be done.  Tech is in less than two weeks.  There are two Hamlets two Ophelia’s who will be performing their characters at the same time, one person playing
Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, and there is no Laertes because he had just got shipped out. 

Step one get a script.  This involved going around to most of the actors and asking them which scenes they thought they were in.  I compiled it ran it by the director cut out half then wrote lines for the chorus (who has never been to a rehearsal) to say between scenes.  Step two find a Laertes.  So the day after my first show closes I go up to one of the stronger actors in the middle of the cafeteria.  I explain the situation and get laughed at.  I beg. I get accused of being the stage manager from hell.  I get down on my knees in front of everyone and beg holding the script in the air making a general scene (hey I came into this business as an actor) we try holding rehearsals but one Ophelia has labs the King and the Ghost both have work all of
R and G’s lines are cut so instead he is going to be doing random actor jokes while wearing a double faced mask and we are less than a week from tech.  The
Gods of theatre smiled and tech went disturbingly well then dress rehearsal didn’t it was back to the old I have labs I have work game.  I made one Ophelia almost cry and told R and G that if he missed his entrance one more time I’d drop his ass from the show.  Nice thing about first time actors is that they actually believe you have that power.  So the night before preview we finally have the whole cast in costume on stage at once.  Our TD who is a trained light designer had been the one to light the show.  It was utterly beautiful but if one cue was off he was going to know (did I mention I was taking six credits from the man at the time and another three from the director)

   Now the idea was that people were suppose to sign up to be jury members before the show (Hamlet and crew are in purgatory and being judged) well it’s the free preview night and all of my friends are coming.  Now most are computer science majors and most haven’t read Hamlet.  I catch them in the lobby and go ‘guess what you are all going on stage do me a favor and send hamlet to hell’  So I drag my non theatre friend back stage hand them over to one of the dressers who is basically my ASM run back up stairs and discover that the house has opened without anyone telling me.  The computer projections (did I mention we had projections too) were not up yet so we had a Windows 95 desk top up for the meager audience to see.  I had a down minute so I went out behind the theatre into a snow bank (btw this is all happening in Fairbanks Alaska) and sacrifice some expensive chocolates to the gods of the theatre.  I go back up to the both and call places.  The Ghost who is chronically
late is still in his boxers.  The show would have started on time but the ghost was late.  I think I missed one light cue that night and for whatever reason the audience liked it.  My friends agreed to come back and be a jury again if need be.  The run went ok after that.  I think it was the nightly chocolate sacrifice that did it. 



 

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