Author Topic: Nutcracker  (Read 12634 times)

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Balletdork

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Nutcracker
« on: Nov 06, 2006, 12:37 pm »
Whew-!

Can anyone offer up any helpful happy thoughts that will help get us Ballet-folk through the hectic Nutcracker season?


Jessie_K

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #1 on: Nov 06, 2006, 03:03 pm »
Whenever I have done plays or ballets with lots of children, I send a form to the parents and make each parent (or set of parents) volunteer to kiddy wrangle for one rehearsal or performance.  If you can have one for each of side the stage and at least one to watch the dressing rooms, that can help a lot.  Just make sure you talk to them about appropriate backstage behavior.  (no photos, where to stand, no cell phones, etc)

Also set up a TV/ VCR in the green room for the kids.

centaura

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #2 on: Nov 07, 2006, 04:21 pm »
My first Nutcracker is coming up here at my roadhouse.  The local ballet company rents out the theatre for a week for the show.  Should be interesting - thankfully I only need to worry about venue issues, and not child-wrangling issues!

-Centaura

Balletdork

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #3 on: Nov 07, 2006, 04:44 pm »
I'm just looking for uplifting happy thoughts....  ;D

killerdana

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #4 on: Nov 07, 2006, 05:59 pm »
I've SMed Nutcracker before (came in the day before--Thursday--to do tech and had the first show Friday morning).  Just remember that it's the Nutcracker and everyone loves it--no matter what.  Especially if you have tons of kids in the show, the parents care a lot more about seeing their babies on stage than then do if your lighting cue is two beats off.  You'll be fine.
Science without art is sterile.  --Albert Einstein

BalletPSM

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #5 on: Nov 07, 2006, 06:03 pm »
Balletdork -- we had our first (well...not the first, the mice/angels/party boys/party girls/soldiers/bon bons/clowns have all been rehearsing on their own since September 28!) group rehearsal this past saturday.  It still felt WAY TOO FREAKING early to be starting Nutcracker.  Staging the party scene...always a bucket of fun.  =)

Did you see the Simpson's christmas episode last year?  They did a little Nutcracker spoof, with the Simpsons singing and dancing to select pieces from the Nutcracker.  Hilights included Moe trying to commit suicide (unsucessfuly) to the Reed Flutes, then Homer forgetting to get Marge a Christmas present -- he runs out of the house singing (to the Russian dance), "I need a present for my wife, or I'll get no sex for life!" (go ahead...try singing it...).  Finally he comes back and he and Marge work it out as the Grand Pas plays....it's beautiful.  ;) Now whenever I hear Reed Flutes I think of Moe trying to kill himself.  So fitting for that piece...

Just think of this -- for the audience, it's either "the same magic year after year" (this was an actual quote from our AD that appeared in the paper last season -- we gave him a lot of grief about it!) and for those who are experiencing their first Nutcracker, what a joy it will be for them!  For some people, "The Nutcracker" is their most important important holiday tradition.

For those of us in the business....well....at least for me, there's something really comforting in calling a show you've been doing for the past 5 years, knowing you could call it in your sleep and the crew could do it in their sleep..thus freeing up more time for chit chat, fun, and games, over cans. ;)

Let's commiserate over the next two months!  ;)

Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Balletdork

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #6 on: Nov 10, 2006, 12:58 pm »
LOL! ;D You've just reminded me of one of my own Nut stories:

I was terribly sick (as we all get when run-down and Nutcrackered out) and decided to take CONTACT- Big Mistake! I was so drugged that I don't remember a single bit of Act II! Not even a tiny section! However, I know we got through it... becasue the audience clapped at the end... which is kind of what snapped me out of my fog. And I looked down, and my book was still on the Intermission page! I asked one of my trusted ASM's if I had called any Act II cues- and apparantly I did- I just had no idea I was doing it! Ack! Can you imagine!? I also find myself calling the show while shopping etc... (or worse yet, going shopping with the company and actually performing the choreography  :P  ;D

FYI - This is my 20th Anniversary of Nutcracker! (I took off the 4 years of college)  ;D

Balletdork

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #7 on: Nov 10, 2006, 12:59 pm »
AND I have to find that Simpson's episode! We have a 22 hour bus ride to tour to San Antonio, and I think that would make a tiny bit of it better!

BalletPSM

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #8 on: Nov 10, 2006, 02:58 pm »


Quote
I also find myself calling the show while shopping etc... (or worse yet, going shopping with the company and actually performing the choreograph

OMG!  I do the same thing while shopping during Nutcracker season! (yes....it's not the holiday season for us ballet folk, it's nutcracker season).  Like, I'll see a price or other number somewhere and be like, "oh, 118, that's my first waltz of the flowers Q"  or anytime I am in a store and some nutcrackcer piece comes on my brain instantly switches to SM mode and I start calling the show along with the music....

Happy 20th Anniversary!  Let's see....this will be my....18th year doing a nutcracker of some shape or form (minus one year my freshman year of college), be it when I was little and was dancing in it, or when I was in high school and we did "Nutcracker on Ice" several years in a row, and then when I got to college and started working with the ballet company, and now at the helm with GRBC.

I still remember my first year working for GRBC a little girl came into rehearsal and had broken her leg the day before and was bawling because she had to tell the director that she couldn't dance, and the director said to her, "There will always be another Nutcracker!  Death, Taxes, and The Nutcracker -- you can always count on those."

For some reason, that statement has stuck with me...

I've got someone working on trying to locate the Simpsons Nutcracker episode.  I'll PM you if he finds it.  you've got to see it.  =)
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Balletdork

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #9 on: Nov 11, 2006, 11:11 am »
I love Death Taxes & The Nutcracker!

VSM

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #10 on: Nov 11, 2006, 11:34 am »
My favorite Nutcracker stories include the absolute stunning stillness immediately after the Battle sequence when all of a sudden it's snowing and Clara lifts her head to see a silhouette of the Nutcracker Prince USC amidst the blue whiteness...

And then the Divas soaking their feet in trashcans full of ice while eating an entire cheese pizza!!!
Ordo ab chao

BalletPSM

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #11 on: Nov 11, 2006, 05:42 pm »
Here's where I reveal my true ballet nerdiness -- I think one of the most magical moments in all of storytelling is the part in the ballet where Drosselmeier brings the Nutcracker to life for Clara....with the music build up and the smoke and all Clara's innocent anticipation and excitement...oh it makes me teary every time!  =)

(yes...I am such a ballet nerd!)
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

OperaLover

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #12 on: Nov 13, 2006, 10:05 pm »
For all you Nutcracker SMs, I'm curious to know how many ASMs you usually have on the production, and what they all do during the show.


Balletdork

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #13 on: Nov 14, 2006, 12:22 pm »
Alabama Ballet does Balanchine's Nutcracker which is child-heavy so I have 2 community cast co-ordinators, 2 rehearsal coaches and 2 asst. stage managers and a PA or Intern.

The community cast coordinators are responsible for child sign-in/out, childrens dresser volunteers, passsing out childrens props and generally anything to do with the children. Of course all those responsibilites are spelled out in paperwork I put together 5 years ago when we first got this production from the Trust.

The rehearsal coaches take either the Prince or Marie under their wing for the duration of the process.

My ASM's each take a side of stage and act as back stage managers (props, scenery... dancer warning, typical ASM stuff) and the PA really has the fun job! He/she get's to do the random stuff which we don't trust the run crew to do: ie; sit in the clock and make it light up and flap wings on the correct musical cue, pull the breakaway Nut suit off the Nutcracker prince, assist in the running of the magic Sugar Plum drag, pull the baby bed....

Some years, depending on availability from the local colleges I also have a 4th backstage PA type position who just floats and assists in the smooth factor of the ballet.

And I call the cues... probably on this show  the actual cue calling is the easiest job- especially since I grew up doing this Nutcracker as a child and teen, and have been calling it for 5 years!  ;D

jwl_868

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Re: Nutcracker
« Reply #14 on: Nov 17, 2006, 04:43 pm »
I'm just looking for uplifting happy thoughts....  ;D


[At my daughter’s dance school, at least] – While there is a certain amount of tedium to the annual repetition of the whole production, one remembers that the girl playing Clara has, no doubt, been looking forward to this moment for the last 4 to 6 years.

Joe

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