Author Topic: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)  (Read 4646 times)

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loulou

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Hi i am at uni taking a SM course withen my Drama degree.  I have little experience in this field and  have to write a critique on Cirque de Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall London , from a Stage Management perspective.  Has any one seen this or been involved with the production as i am not sure where to start. 
These are some questions i have that are puzzling me:
 Does the Royal Albert use a resident SM  or would the company use their own?  What is the difference in role of SM in a touring/circus company?  There were a huge amount of flys/rigging and acrobatics does this pose difficulties for stage management i.e. health and safety.  Also the stage moves to reveal a trampoline and a revolving platform and the performers appear to enter from underneath.  Is there a term for this type of stage. Would this movement of the stage  be cued as a 'trap' and in your experience and wisdom what problems would this pose for SM for the 'get in' and 'get out'.  I know this is quite alot of of questions but any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks Guys

smsam

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #1 on: Feb 07, 2007, 10:33 am »
Hi Lou Lou,

I have a friend who is working on Alegria at the RAH at the moment. I will ask him for some details and post them here! One major consideration I know about is the age of the performers... Most of them are under 16!!

What did you think of the show as a whole by the way? I saw the Dress Rehearsal just before they opened and thought it was 'OK'. I was expecting something a bit more special however after other Cirque shows I had seen in other Countries!

Sam x
Sam x

loulou

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #2 on: Feb 07, 2007, 10:59 am »

Hi Sam
Yeah i thought it was 'OK' i thought it would have more of a WOW factor so i was a bit disappointed. I  haven't seen any other of their productions but i have been looking at other projects of Cirque on the web which seem more inspiring.  I thought the skill of the acrobats was  exceptional but i didn't get some of the characters/roles, sometimes they just seemed to be a spare part and at times a bit monotonous, mind you most of the time i was worrying what i was going to put in my essay!  I liked the snow and wind scene and the sound was brilliant but i would have liked to seen more special effects.  However for a touring company i suppose they are limited to what they can do?  All said and done though i had a good night so i suppose that is the most important thing.
Cheers for your reply Sam,  if your friend has any suggestions that would be great, Take care
Lou x

smsam

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #3 on: Feb 07, 2007, 12:48 pm »
Hi Lou,

OK i had a word with him and he offered the following...

There are several 'Resident Stage Managers' but they are not quite as you or me might know them from Theatre! There job is to mainly ensure the 'venue' (think seating, drapes, company office, parking etc.) is adequately arranged. This isn't just a thing for Cirque, this is applicable to all RAH productions.

Cirque does travel with a Stage Manager and a Show Caller. The Stage Manager has more of a 'Production Management' or Company Stage Management role, looking after the artists, scheduling, press calls etc. The Show Caller calls mainly the artists to the stage, artist ent. cues and SOME automation (mainly visual). I also take it they liaise with automation and other departments to call a show stop where necessary. They DON'T call LX or Sound (the operators who tour with the show take there cues themselves). Automation/ Rigging also take many of their clearances and cues themselves. The Show Caller is also monitoring several screens etc. to make sure people are hitting their marks for automation, rigging/ flying sequences are happening correctly, and automation is all going to plan!

The Rigging is a massive task and is conducted by the touring riggers, master carpenter, head of rigging as well as some local riggers. Alegria got in all over Christmas. It started eith a Pre-Rig, putting in points etc. starting many weeks before the show came. Then next all the rigging goes in, followed by the Stage and LX/ Sound.

The parting cross-part of the stage is something I have seen in other Cirque shows and thought was most impressive. I suspect this is called as an 'Auto' or 'Automation' Cue rather than a trap cue. I presume this is a bespoke system designed by Michel Crête (the set designer) and as such there is no actual 'name' for that sort of staging...

If you are looking for more information on individual peoples jobs etc. go to the Cirque du Soleil website here which gives you detailed job descriptions for current vacancices at Cirque.

Indeed as they are a touring show (in fact they are an international touring show!) there are certain limitations on how much wow-factor they can take on the road!

My friend is actually an LX Guy so doesn't know too much about the Stage Management of it all but he says if you have any specific questions then I'll pass them on and he'll find out for you! Also if you want to know anything about LX then he's got all that info.

Hope that helps in some small way!

Sam x

PS - I too really loved the snow. Great Effect!
Sam x

loulou

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #4 on: Feb 07, 2007, 03:12 pm »
Thanks Sam
You are a star my lecturer is always saying how this site is a really usefull resource and she is definitely right (mind you she knows everything i think she is super woman with a day time cover)
I really don't envy the LFX guys i was dizzy just looking up at the rigging credit to them i say.
 If your friend has any stories on his working relationships with SM in general e.g what can a SM do to keep good relations between themselves and LFX, what problems would he go to a SM for, and if something goes wrong with LFX what would be said over the cans to the caller to ensure no major disasters that sort of thing. 
Thanks again for taking the time to help,  I'm sure you will be seeing loads more of my help!!!!! posts as i have to SM a fourth year production v. soon OMG!!
Lou x

loulou

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #5 on: Feb 07, 2007, 03:23 pm »
Me again
Just wondering, would your guy know if there was a problem on thursday (last week) nights performance as there seemed to be during the part when the trapeze artists climb up the ladders, as the music and LFX seemed to repeat and the cast came on, took the positions walked off and came back on again.  What was the problem  and how was it rectified?
Cheers again
Lou the pest
xx

shatbox

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Re: Help!! A critique from a SM perspective (cirque de soleil)
« Reply #6 on: Mar 03, 2007, 03:01 am »
To build on sam,
I recently worked under the original production stage manager for "O" at Bellagio for a show here in Philly. What a woman. She was always professional and very approachable. She said it was the  most challenging and rewarding project she has ever worked. She explained that originally there was no position to see the entire space she was o right over the giant pool; so they built gondolas FOH for Aquatics, Lighting/Automation, and Stage Management. Everyone there, she said, was the best in the world - so her role really was to manage the traffic to keep things flowing smoothly. Safety was the the most important item. I wouldn't be surprised if the trapeze team reset to their offstage positions and went for it again. It could have been a safety issue. These artists strive for perfection for themselves and the audience. I didn't ask if the cues are taken off the SM or by the operator's visuals. I don't know...the accountability should lie with the SM. Her advice for young SMs? "Work hard". I can imagine it would be difficult to sum up years of blood, sweat, and tears to someone who just has to experience it to understand. I was lucky to work with her.
Seek those with standards and meet them. Exceed them. Move forward. Set the standard.
iacosta@phillytheatreco.com

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