Author Topic: Traverse Stage Blocking  (Read 1069 times)

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Paul

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Traverse Stage Blocking
« on: Sep 25, 2018, 05:43 am »
Hi everyone,

My college are staging a production of Sweeny Todd and the director has decided she would like to perform it on a traverse stage.

I am slightly confused as to how blocking notes would work in this situation. Would the typical proscenium arch stage blocking work but on a slightly squished scale or is there another way to take blocking?

Cheers for any advice!

Maribeth

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Re: Traverse Stage Blocking
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25, 2018, 11:24 am »
Hi Paul,
There's no right or wrong way to do it, but something I've done in the past for stages that don't have a traditional 'upstage' and 'downstage' is to assign each wall of the theater a direction - 'north south east and west'. That way you can note that an actor crosses north, or exits southwest. You can also use positions on a clock, or assign specific walls to be upstage and downstage (though that can be unhelpful, if you're trying to play to both sides of the house, if you think of one of them as 'downstage'.

Whatever method you choose, it's useful to put a note in the rehearsal report at the beginning of the process to let other people know which wall you're referring to as 'north'.

EDIT: And it's important to put signs on the wall in the rehearsal room, so that actors know which way to go when the director says "Exit through the South door" or something similar.
« Last Edit: Sep 27, 2018, 11:09 am by Maribeth »

BenTheStageMan

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Re: Traverse Stage Blocking
« Reply #2 on: Sep 26, 2018, 12:02 am »
Something I found helpful the one time I did a show in this format is finding out where you're going to be calling the stage from, and make your SM table in as close to that position as possible for rehearsal.  You can also use more descriptive words than directions, like "Greenroom side" and "Lobby Side" when discussing entrances and exits, rather than SL and SR.
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maximillionx

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Re: Traverse Stage Blocking
« Reply #3 on: Sep 26, 2018, 11:56 am »
Similarly to other posts, I've attributed compass directions to a particular side. Maybe one entrance is North and another South, East or West, depending on preference.

I think the trickiest part of this staging isn't necessarily the orientation of labeling, but rather how you label the grades of the stage. Center stage is a little obvious, but whta do you call the spot that's 6' from center but 10' from the North entrance? Compass directions, clock numbers, or spacial references only get you so far. Maybe adopt something like you see on the edges of proscenium stages and number the feet from center and reference those?

Whatever you choose, good luck and have fun!

Paul

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Re: Traverse Stage Blocking
« Reply #4 on: Sep 27, 2018, 05:09 pm »
Thank you everyone for your advice.

I had a chat with my director about this and I threw out the ideas that you guys gave and so what we've come up with is something similar to a chess board or grid. For example, a blocking note might read: Todd A4 --> A2.

It's gonna be great fun as I'm pretty sure the director and I will just end up playing battleships or something similar!   :D

What we're also going to do is mark up the stage like a grid so that the actors know where they need to move to.

Basically, it's going to be similar to the stage of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime" where they divided the stage up into a grid and so the SM/DSM took blocking using grid references.

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maximillionx

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Re: Traverse Stage Blocking
« Reply #5 on: Sep 27, 2018, 05:23 pm »
You sunk my Actor Ship!

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