Author Topic: NEW WORKS: Workshoping a show...  (Read 3478 times)

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lsu_kat

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NEW WORKS: Workshoping a show...
« on: Nov 12, 2005, 03:12 am »
Hi fellow SMs!

I just agreed to SM a show that is being workshopped over the next few months.  I'm a student and have looked through all my notes and books but there is no information about workshopping a show.  Is there anything special that I should do?  Any specialized paperwork?  Any suggestions would be great!!  Thanks y'all!!!!!
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:45 pm by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #1 on: Nov 12, 2005, 06:39 am »
welcome to HELL.

Tip #1. Number lines and pages
Tip #2. Keep the line numbers the same.
Tip #3. Create sheets which have line additions and removals, each dated
Tip #4. Distribute said sheets BEFORE the next session
Tip #5. Buy pencils en bulk (actors can NEVER remember their own pencil)
Tip #7. Buy your own coffee company - you will spend every minute after rehearsals performing maintenance.


As a general rule, when going through a long workshoping period (weeks), I will usually have my prompt book arranged as follows:

script&blocking for page 1
Plastic pocket
script&blocking for page 2
Plastic pocket

etc. So there is a pocket after each page. Why? you may ask. Each page of my script I have the revision date and number. When I do another revision (say every 3rd day, the rest of the time it is penned in) I take out the script and blocking pages, staple them together and place them in the plastic pocket.

You may want a dictaphone (micro casset recorder) as they can often be extreamly fast.

Basically, when workshopping, keep EVERYTHING, because 3 rehearsals down the track, someone will say "3 days ago we had something really good on page 5 line 10.12" and you need to be able to pull it out and say 'It was...."

(as you may have gathered, after you number the orrigional script, you do not change the numbering, if you add a page, it becomes page Xa, if you add a line, it becomes X.i.

This is what you may end up with:

10 blah
11 blah blah
11.1 blah blah
11.2 blah blah
11.4 blah blah
11.9 blah blah
15 blah blah
13 blah blah
17 blah blah

lsu_kat

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #2 on: Nov 12, 2005, 02:17 pm »
Thank you SO much!  I knew there would be good suggestions out there.

Aerial

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #3 on: Nov 12, 2005, 11:18 pm »
Whenever I'm workshopping a play I do a few things differently than I would  on a regular play.

* Always make absolutely sure that the date appears on all pages.  Some playwrights are good about this, and some never remember.  If they haven't done it in their computer program, you should write it in the same part of the page (for easy reference) on your master.

* I find that it is best to maintain a master script, in addition to your prompt script, so that if someone for any reason needs a few pages, or the entire script you have a clean copy that is completely up to date to Xerox for them.

* I personally find it is easiest to write my blocking in the left hand margin of the page the text is on when I am doing a new play, so that when you have to replace the page, you don't have to replace the one preceeding it(or following it, depending on which side you take blocking on) as well.  You can just line up the blocking from the old page X with the text on new page X if it is even remotely the same text.

* Try to set up a guideline with your playwright of when you need new pages by in order to have the copied for rehearsal.  Most will try to accomodate you.  Things come up in the middle of the day on occasion (I let my Fringe show playwright do "lunch revisions" sometimes) but you should set up a good working relationship that gets things done most productively.

* When I'm distributing a stack of new pages to my actors, I bind it all together with a Post-it, write on the Post-it the actor's name, the new pages numbers, and any peculiar instructions for inserting them.  This helps you keep track of exactly which actors still need to get their packets, and frees you up from having to explain to actors who are called later in the rehearsal day exactly how to insert all the new pages into their script.  

New plays can be trying for the actors involved, especially if they haven't worked on a new play before, and especially if the production you are working on is more than a reading and they are required to be off book.  I did a play last year as part of a new plays festival and for some reason we were the first show to tech, and the last show to go up, with a week of rehearsal in between.  A week in which the playwright drastically overhauled the play.  Thank goodness, we'd established that our cast would have their scripts early on, to allow maximum revisions on the playwright's part.  It was tough enough to rework the blocking in the week, then quickly put it in to the tech that we'd already done.

You'll learn quickly what type of playwright you're working with.  Some sit back and listen carefully, and give revisions and new pages.  In other cases you have a second director in the room.  Be wary of that.  If that's the case pay extra attention to your cast to make sure they aren't stressed out by this double direction.

All this being said, I love doing new plays. I like the challenge of working with a constantly evolving work, and see it progress through the rehearsal process.  It can be very rewarding...just don't necessarily expect it to be a GOOD play, especially if this is its first workshop.

YesItsKat

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #4 on: Nov 13, 2005, 12:15 pm »
What is workshoping a play?

Mac Calder

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #5 on: Nov 13, 2005, 02:44 pm »
It is when you start off with either a rough concept (they are a bitch) or a rough script and you basically sit down and re-do/polish it together (actors & director & writer), OR it is a term used when the writer has handed in a rough script of a new play, and they workshop it themselves and send you post-it notes filled with changes that you need a microscope to read.

basically it is hell on earth, although some of us SM's (myself included) actually enjoy the torture of workshopping.

lsu_kat

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Workshoping a show...
« Reply #6 on: Nov 13, 2005, 03:26 pm »
The playwright is the director for this show... I'm hoping that will work out well.  i'm really excited about the project in general.  Honestly it can't be as much of a hell as the show I just finished.  I was really reconsidering my life choices because it was such a bad experience.  (Diva Actors and designers, a director who didn't like to make decisions, an AD who thought she was the director, and 2 major hurricanes [I'm from Baton Rouge])  I already know the actors and director/playwright very well, and we all work well together, so I think this will be fun in that hellish way.

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